The Corner

On the Republican “strategist” again, I’m afraid

His attempt to argue that if the GOP passed no bill, it would suffer the same fate as the Democrats in 1994 because they failed to pass the Crime Bill of that year is a wonderful re-writing of history. He tells us that the Democrats lost in 1994 because the Crime Bill dragged on and showed they couldn’t address a national problem. He doesn’t quite address the fact that the Democrats passed the Crime Bill–as he urges the GOP to do with this bill–and still lost heavily. The full story of all this is quite different–and as follows. In 1994 Republican moderates (quite possibly including our “strategist”) strongly argued that the GOP had to go along with the Crime Bill and Hillarycare or face electoral defeat. Conservatives argued that the Crime Bill was a liberal Christmas tree of social spending rather than a serious anti-crime measure and that Hillarycare was a vast social operation conducted on a living economy. So what happened next? Hillarycare was blocked by Republicans and the Crime Bill was narrowly passed over strong GOP opposition. The Washington Post reporter commented on Crime Bill’s passage: “The vote gave a big boost to Clinton at a time when his health care bill was slipping away from him, enabling the president to claim credit for the biggest crime bill in history at a time when polls show that few issues energize voters more than fear of violent crime.” Did the voters in the election two months later vote for “something” because it was called an “anti-crime” measure? No. Did they punish the Republican’s obstruction on both bills? No, the GOP won its historic landslide victory that November? Was that because the Democrats could not pass Hillarycare? No, as all conservatives agreed at the time, it was because Hillarycare was unpopular. But it was not nearly as unpopular as today’s comprehensive immigration reform that manages to combine a liberal cornucopia of social spending with the vivisection of  a living nation. With “strategists” like this who needs enemies?

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