Ezra Klein and Matthew Yglesias remind us of why the Republican Party is at least a generation past its sell-by date, for "we're... living in Lyndon Johnson's America. Barry Goldwater’s alternative vision of a backwards and brutal society in which the poor and elderly languish without health care and African-Americans eat at separate lunch counters is so discredited that Goldwater’s heirs and admirers generally refuse to admit that this is what he stood for...":
Ezra Klein: Health care and freedom: "Today is the death of freedom as a cause for celebration," Rep. Marsha Blackburn just said as she opened the House Republicans' argument against the health-care bill. Her stem-winder was quick and clean. This bill, she argued, will make Americas less free. There is a tendency to think this sort of inane hyperbole an innovation of our polarized age. But it isn't. When Medicare was being considered, the American Medical Association hired Ronald Reagan to record a record... Operation: Coffee Cup.... Reagan was a more graceful speaker than Blackburn, but his point was much the same. Kill the [Medicare] bill. "If you don’t do this and if I don’t do it," he said, "one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children, what it once was like in America when men were free.”
Well, the [Medicare] bill passed. And moments ago, Rep. Paul Ryan was on the floor of the House, bellowing against Democrats who would dare propose "across-the-board cuts to Medicare." This is breathless opportunism from Ryan... but leave that aside for a moment. The GOP's embrace of the program that Ronald Reagan fought, and that Newt Gingrich sought to let "whither on the vine," is based on the lived experience seniors have had with the bill: It has made them more, rather than less, free.... [P]eople do not "celebrate" the freedom to not be able to afford lifesaving medical care. They don't want the freedom to weigh whether to pay rent or take their feverish child to the emergency room. They don't like the freedom to lose their job and then be told by insurers that they're ineligible for coverage because they were born with a heart arrhythmia. When faced with the passage of programs that would deliver people from these awful circumstances, the Republicans adopt a very narrow and cruel definition of the word "freedom." But when faced with the existence of programs like Medicare... they abandon their earlier beliefs, forget their dire warnings and, when convenient, defend these government protections aggressively. There's nothing much to be done about that. It is, after all, a free country. But Americans should feel free to ignore these discredited hysterics.
And Matthew Yglesias on Newt Gingrich's "'[The Democrats] will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years' with the enactment of civil rights legislation in the 1960s":
It’s true that Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society—Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, Medicare, Medicaid, Title I federal education spending, and a suite of other anti-poverty programs—played a roll in the unraveling of the New Deal coalition. At the same time, the Civil Rights Act has not been repealed. Nor has Medicare. Nor has Medicaid. Nor has the Voting Rights Act. Federal aid to education for the poor is more firmly entrenched than ever in the landscape. Some of the other Johnson-era anti-poverty programs have been repealed or substantially scaled back. But we’re overwhelmingly living in Lyndon Johnson’s America...