Paul Krugman has a victory lap column up today, and it's well deserved. Far be it from me to dance around and laugh at people who are stupid, but that's exactly what we should be doing right now--pointing and laughing at how absolutely ridiculous the enemies of the PPACA were just a few short months ago:
What was especially odd about the incessant predictions of health-reform disaster was that we already knew, or should have known, that a program along the lines of the Affordable Care Act was likely to work. Obamacare was closely modeled on Romneycare, which has been working in Massachusetts since 2006, and it bears a strong family resemblance to successful systems abroad, for example in Switzerland. Why should the system have been unworkable for America?
But a firm conviction that the government can’t do anything useful — a dogmatic belief in public-sector incompetence — is now a central part of American conservatism, and the incompetence dogma has evidently made rational analysis of policy issues impossible.
It wasn’t always thus. If you go back two decades, to the last great fight over health reform, conservatives seem to have been relatively clearheaded about the policy prospects, albeit deeply cynical. For example, William Kristol’s famous 1993 memo urging Republicans to kill the Clinton health plan warned explicitly that Clintoncare, if implemented, might well be perceived as successful, which would, in turn, “strike a punishing blow against Republican claims to defend the middle class by restraining government.” So it was crucial to make sure that reform never happened. In effect, Mr. Kristol was telling insiders that tales of government incompetence are something you peddle to voters to get them to support tax cuts and deregulation, not something you necessarily believe yourself.
This would be same William Kristol who championed the Iraq War and has been going around telling everyone that we should re-invade Iraq. Seriously, though--if Kristol is your intellectual guide, you've spent over twenty years being wrong about everything in America. With a track record like Kristol's--and with all of the hysterical predictions about how the PPACA was supposed to fail--how could anyone seriously believe there is a conservative intellect anymore?