The Corner


Robert Goldberg brings up the 1996 welfare reform in connection with the Medicare bill. I’ve been thinking about the two myself, but in a different way. In 1996, Clinton signed a bill that his party’s left wing hated. Afterward, did he spend his time arguing with the left and trying to persuade it that it should have been on board because the bill really was good? No. He bragged about the bill to the general public, while telling the left that he was going to go back and fix its worst features. For example, he was going to liberalize the rules for welfare for immigrants.

Contrast this to the 1997 budget deal. Conservatives were furious about it. The Gingrich Republicans spent months telling us we shouldn’t be.

Which way will the administration and its allies go with regard to the Medicare bill? The Cesar Conda and Robert Goldberg articles on NRO this week do not seem to me to be hopeful portents.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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