Glenn Reynolds, Rah! – UPDATED

Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds has the read of the weekend or perhaps the whole week, in the Washington Examiner:

With the election over, Republicans are arguing about whether they should address Democrats via compromise, or confrontation. Both have their places, but I have a different suggestion.


With the deficit and the debt ballooning, with the economy remaining in the tank, and with tough choices on the horizon, what Americans need more than anything is clarity about what those choices involve, about who is making them, and about who is avoiding them.

Sometimes clarity will mean confrontation.

Republicans need to live up to their promise of an Obamacare repeal. Democrats will then be forced to join them, or vote against repeal. That will produce clarity on who stands for what, in time for the next elections.

If it passes Congress, Obama will be forced to veto or acquiesce. That will produce clarity, too.

Likewise on topics like taxes, the debt limit and other pressing issues. Often when Washington insiders talk “compromise,” they really mean engineering a situation where nobody really has to take a position, or responsibility. In those circumstances, clarity is better served by forcing positions into the open, even if doing so involves confrontation.

Sometimes, of course, compromises can bring clarity — when it’s clear what’s being given up, and what’s gained in exchange. Generally speaking, though, the Washington approach is to pretend that there’s a free lunch, rather than to acknowledge the trade-offs.

This must change. Voters deserve to know the truth, and a compromise that won’t work if voters know the truth isn’t really a compromise at all, but a con.

As Glenn would say, read it all!

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey has more thoughts

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  • Terrye

    Yes, people are ready for the truth. I do believe that.

  • macarcee

    No, the pee-pul, God love them are NOT ready for the truth.
    The people want government to make everything all better. Now that Pres. Obama and the Democratic Congress have failed to deliver they will expect the GOP to turn things around.

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  • Bender

    Republicans are arguing about whether they should . . .

    No need to scratch their heads or argue or wonder about what they should do. All they need to do is what the people who elected them told them to do in this election. That’s it.

    It is not a question of whether you compromise or work with Dems or not, etc. It is a question of whether you work for the people who elected you or whether you work against what they voted for.

  • Bender

    In other words, the Republicans need to know that their counterparts are not the Democrats, rather, they are the people.

    Either the Republicans are with the people or they are against the people. It is as simple as that (Dems have already proven beyond dispute that they are against the people, that the people be damned, they don’t care what the people want).

    Frankly, they are lucky that this is the 21st century. If this were the 19th or 18th centuries, we would have had violent open revolt by now.

  • Zachriel

    Republicans need to live up to their promise of an Obamacare repeal. Democrats will then be forced to join them, or vote against repeal.

    Someone apparently doesn’t understand the legislative process. A bill to repeal may pass the House, but will presumably die in the Senate without a vote. As the President would certainly veto any such bill, it’s political posturing that does nothing to advance the interests of the American people.

  • Bender

    That Harry Reid would play the dictator and refuse a vote on the repeal of ObamaCare, or even a vote to allow debate on it, is hardly “legislative process.”

    You’re right, someone does not understand the legislative process.


    I like Mr. Reynolds, been a fan for years.

    However, I wrote (and received a response), long prior to the outcome in the Alaskan Primary. I warned about an overt, hostile, nasty, vitriolic, divisive effort.

    Mr. Reynolds has long displayed an “INDY” even somewhat libertarian concept. This is more than healthy and fine. Yet, his insight in many of the Primaries and the Midterms, revealed a real unhealthy anti-GOP mantra – which at times shared some strange ‘cabal’ conspiracies.

    I always take all insight with some reflection. You can see his natural desire to distance – and play the INDY again.

    It is always good politics to express a desire to work politely and constructively. GW Bush has helped the Republican image greatly with his tremendous class. Voters, unlike the way the fashion sells it, do not view things in a vacuum. Many do remember, and the Republicans were turned to largely because of their more attractive offering – even if those with an agenda want to diminish this reality.

    It is wise for many Republicans to talk about being given a new chance – to advertise they have learned as well. But the record tells us a different story – the Bush Administration and the Republican Majorities from 2002 to 2006 were very sound when reviewed in a healthy context. Unfortunately, today’s fashion amongst the fine Conservative side (my own) is not so objective.

    For example, many Conservative Pundits often maintain a desire to do nothing, to have no health care reform at all. If Republicans followed this sophistry, they would continue to see Democrats win more elections. Americans want reforms, but not the weak collectivist folly of the Democratic Party.

    We see the same mindset of some saying “don’t talk to Democrats”. This is not what the American Public wants either. They want healthy discourse and a constructive attitude. They also want results, to address problems in a serious manner. It was a riot for this diddohead, to hear RUSH tell the audience predictably to not engage the Democrats, to rebuke all the Politicians offering this polite political expression for appearances. I wonder if he even knew Sarah Palin offered the same sentiment on FOX, suggesting one should “reach out”.

    However, as we all know, this should never be met with enabling bad – poor policy. One can make sound exchanges, which aids the American Public.

    Two big examples of recent memory should advertise a lesson. 1. We now know, the Democratic Partisan named Gov. Blanco actually blocked Federal Rescue efforts for over a week, after Katrina. Her adviser was a former Clinton Administration Big Wig, and it looks as if this was pure politics – leaving her own constituents in peril for some ugly political game. 2. GW Bush was able to exchange a little more funding in Education (which we already spent enormously on) to get the Democratic Partisan run Senate to pass a Reform which contained a vast number of sound Conservative principles into Our Educational System, including testing, standards, competition, etc. Democrat Unions are still furious at this incredible success of the Bush Administration, which made a calculated exchange, willing to try to improve a disaster. Many fellow Conservatives have never been objective about the effort, or the results. It was a huge foot in the door on the Public Education Machine failure. The same could be said about the admirable effort of GW Bush to try to reform Social Security – a very impressive conservative effort, which was largely overlooked by many emotive cynics.

    Regardless, it won’t matter what some Republicans do. There are those posing as ‘conservatives’ who are gaining personally in a number of ways, especially with attention – who will cynically reject any offering. They will cry foul of Boehner, McConnell, etc., and be shocked by the likes of Paul, Rubio, etc. They are types who will again irrationally be unable to handle a GOP Majority in both Houses and the Executive – feeling no matter what is done, it won’t be to their approval. They are sideline critics, often they have no experience to manage or run for anything. They will always be with us, and often lack a constructive ability.

    We cannot allow them to guide all off of another reactionary cliff. One would have thought after 9-11, we would have learned. But such is life.

  • Zachriel

    Bender: That Harry Reid would play the dictator and refuse a vote on the repeal of ObamaCare, or even a vote to allow debate on it, is hardly “legislative process.” You’re right, someone does not understand the legislative process.

    Senate Republicans filibustered the recent health insurance regulation, which would have easily passed by simple majority vote. Indeed, they have filibustered more legislation than any Senate in history.

  • Assistant Village Idiot

    Old fan, much of your argument is persuasive. The idea that the GOP should take scalps is bad for the nation long-term. I think the right-wing attitude that conservatives need to be confrontational and punitive stems from the impression that those who have not done so have eventually capitulated on everything. That there is another group, firm but not antagonistic, often gets buried in the rhetoric.

    We had a very good situation up here in NH with Senators Judd Gregg and John Sununu. Neither was histrionic, but both were solid. A GOP made up entirely of such folks would do far better than a mix of squishes and flamethrowers.

    I agree with Reynolds about the clarity. There is some fantasy in the idea that we can present an entirely clear view of what is happening on all major legislation with no interference from PR attempts by outside parties (right, left, and opportunistic). But we can at least make the choices clear-er – and we should.

  • craig

    Assistant Village Idiot writes: “I think the right-wing attitude that conservatives need to be confrontational and punitive stems from the impression that those who have not done so have eventually capitulated on everything.”

    Ordinary people don’t want the GOP to be vindictive. They do want the GOP to be substantively confrontational against the welfare state, as opposed to theatrically confrontational as we have seen in the past. That’s what the call for clarity is about.

    What irks the Tea Party conservatives is how often the GOP has pre-emptively capitulated to the Democrats while giving its base empty words of support for smaller government. When the Republicans start by agreeing to the Democrats’ premises (re: the inevitability of government intervention), they prevent themselves from arguing principle and leave themselves reduced to “negotiating price”, so to speak.

  • Barbara

    How about some hilarity? Cat Stevens at a rally to restore sanity or fear (ask Salman Rushdie what real fear is!), Pelosi as Winston Churchill, Republicans who’d get in a ditch but doesn’t know anyone with a cell phone to call a tow truck, Palin’s resignation from the governorship equated to Chappaquiddick…
    With charity, of course. These ignorant and delusional people really do think that Keynsian economics and AWG (sorry, climate disruption, my bad) are science. Math-phobic, non-scientists -they don’t know that their bible ihas been thoroughly discredited. See link
    Many think Richard Dawkins is a scientist, They think people of faith are anti-science! See link for real science, as in how you make those big buildings beautiful and keep them from falling down.
    After you laugh, you pray for these poor people, and you pray for wisdom for the people who must oppose the culture of death they espouse. That means each and everyone of us.
    Watch them all, never stop calling and writing your elected officials. Let them all know you’re praying and watching them.
    Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman said it best:

    “God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission – I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. Somehow I am necessary for His purposes, as necessary in my place as an Archangel in his–if, indeed, I fail, He can raise another, as He could make the stones children of Abraham. Yet I have a part in this great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep his commandments and serve Him in my calling.”

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  • Doc

    The House should pass a series of short, single-issue bills which would draw an unmistakable contrast with the 2000-page monstrosities passed by Pelosi’s wrecking crew. Voters will remember which way their senators vote on these bills. Over 20 ObamaCare Democrat senators are up in 2012. A fair number of those bills will pass the Senate, forcing the veto. This is not a waste of time, Zach. It will produce very distinct lines between the parties.

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