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The passage of health care reform is historic in many ways: It will extend coverage to 95% Americans and it is perhaps the biggest social welfare program in decades. But the new law is also significant in that it received exactly zero Republican votes. Even President Lyndon Johnson's contentious civil rights legislation enjoyed support from nearly half of the Republican caucus. Clearly, the Republicans have doubled down on a strategy of unification and saying "no," and that strategy has failed to prevent reform from passing. As the minority looks forward to the 2010 and 2012 elections, it must face questions as to how it wishes to govern and to run. The conservative prescriptions are many.


  • Shed the Hard-Liners and Obstructionists  Former Bush speechwriter David Frum sighs, "We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat." He singles out pundits. "Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or – more exactly – with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?"
  • More Obstructionism!  So insists Senator John McCain, fuming about Democratic parliamentary tactics used to pass the bill. "There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year," McCain told an Arizona radio host. "They have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it."
  • Run Against ObamaCare  The National Review urges Republicans to make it the central plank in their campaigns. "Conservatives will be able to capitalize on the discrediting of Obamacare, however it takes place, only if they campaign this fall on a pledge to replace this government-heavy system with true reform." They say that public opinion will inevitably turn against health care reform.
  • Run Against Moderate Democrats  Powerline's Scott Johnson seethes, "Take, for example, Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota. The good people of South Dakota must understand that her vote against Obamacare is meaningless so long as she contributes to the Democrats' will to power in Washington. She should be defeated in favor of a Republican candidate who will help constitute a partisan majority for the undoing of Obamacare."
  • Tea Partiers Come Out Ahead  Newsweek's Howard Fineman declares them among the "winners" of reform's passage. "They are crying havoc (outside the Capitol) and now have their cause, apocalypse and all." Among the "losers" are the GOP. "They'll gain seats in the midterms for sure, but not necessarily as many as they are assuming. For one, the world is not going to end if and when the bill becomes law. In fact, nothing much at all will happen."

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