The Conservative Health Care Freak-Out: It's On

by Jonathan Chait | March 15, 2010

A few weeks ago, I noticed that conservatives, having celebrated the death of health care reform, were starting to wake up to the fact that reform wasn't actually dead. They remained overwhelmingly confident -- Yuval Levin: "It will almost certainly fail" -- but slight doubts were beginning to materialize. I suggested that when the realization dawn that reform actually stood a strong chance of being enacted, they would start to flip out.

You can imagine how this feels to conservatives. They've already run off the field, sprayed themselves with champagne and taunted the losing team's fans. And now the other team is saying the game is still on and they have a good chance to win. There may be nothing wrong at all with the process, but it's certainly going to feel like some kind of crime to the right-wing. The Democrats may not win, but I'm pretty sure they're going to try. The conservative freakout is going to be something to behold.

I helpfully included a photo of Michelle Bachmann looking freaked-out. Now the freakout is starting to arrive, and naturally Bachmann is at the center of it:

"Mark my words, the American people aren't gonna take this lying down," Bachmann later said. "We aren't gonna play their game, we're not gonna pay their taxes. They want us to pay for this? Because we don't have to. We don't have to. We don't have to follow a bill that isn't law. That's not the American way, and that's not what we're going to do."
Bachmann continued. "Because it's one-party rule now in Washington, D.C. Their Chicago tactics, their Chicago friends, twisting Democrats' arms, threatening their own team members with ethics charges and a submission. This handful of people thinks (sic) they can enforce their will on 300 million Americans? They're not gonna do that. This is dictatorial, what they are doing. We are not compelled to follow a non-law just because Obama and Pelosi tells us we have to."

I'm genuinely curious to see what form this civil disobedience campaign will take. Will it be boring, general anti-government stuff like refusing to pay taxes? Or will it be more health care-specific, like demanding hospitals receive compensation for covering uninsured patients in the ER even if those patients now have insurance, or insisting that insurance companies refuse them coverage if they have preexisting conditions? It's going to be fun.

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/jonathan-chait/the-conservative-health-care-freak-out-its