Joshua Tucker basically agrees with Jonathan Bernstein about the GOP's healthcare pledges:

My assessment is that repealing health care reform is going to turn out to be a lot like cutting spending: everyone is in favor of cutting spending generally, but no one wants to cut spending for particular programs. Thus the Republicans face a dilemma. Politically, they are probably best served by continuing to rail against health care, but not actually trying to make unpopular changes to the program. However, that will open them up to charges of not actually fulfilling campaign promises. So the best strategy may be to overreach, propose plans that could never work (e.g., repealing mandates without doing anything else), count on the Senate to block or Obama to veto, and therefore keep the issue alive in its general form for the 2012 elections. Gridlock anyone?

Same, one suspects, on the debt. Pure politics; no policy. Is power all they care about?

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