I’ve still got an hour before I have to leave for the airport, so let’s take note of two examples of party dynamics today.
First up is Bernie Sanders and his Medicare-for-All bill. What’s been the response among the lefty wonkocracy? Let’s call it…hesitation. Everyone’s for single-payer, that’s not the problem. But Bernie’s plan has issues. And he doesn’t say anything about how he’ll pay for it. Plus it might be too generous. And how do we handle all the people with employer health care who will be nervous about losing their doctor? Etc. etc.
Compare this to Repeal and Replace. It literally had no detail at all, but Republicans ran on it for seven years and everyone was all for it. During that time, no one on the right spent more than a few minutes seriously wondering what the replacement would look like. There were occasional “white papers” that tossed out the usual Republican cocktail—tort reform, state lines, high-risk pools, HSAs, blah blah blah—but that was it. Nobody cared.
Next up: Hillary Clinton’s memoir. What’s been the reaction on the left? Endless griping. Why is she relitigating 2016? Why won’t she accept any blame for her loss? Why won’t she just go away? Haven’t we had enough of the Clintons?
On the right, I guess losers don’t write post-election memoirs. Do they? And if they do, the response is mostly respectful. The guy’s a true conservative and should be proud of his service to the nation.
On the left, we just can’t help ourselves. We have to get things off our chests, regardless of whether it’s useful or helpful. If we want to flatter ourselves, we call this a dedication to intellectual honesty. If we want to be a wee bit more self-aware, we’d call it an endless hunger to show off our intellectual chops. Is it helpful? Does it work? Hard to say. But it’s all part of who we are. And it’s very much not a part of who conservatives are.