Compromise To Remain On The Path To Health Care Reform

Whether a health reform deal includes a public option remains a key issue dividing the parties. The Wall Street Journal reports there is room for compromise:

It is more important that health-care legislation inject stiff competition among insurance plans than it is for Congress to create a pure government-run option, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said.”The goal is to have a means and a mechanism to keep the private insurers honest,” he said in an interview. “The goal is non-negotiable; the path is” negotiable.

President Barack Obama has campaigned vigorously for a full public option. But he’s also said that he won’t draw a “line in the sand” over this point. On Tuesday, the White House issued a statement reiterating his support for a public plan.

“I am pleased by the progress we’re making on health care reform and still believe, as I’ve said before, that one of the best ways to bring down costs, provide more choices, and assure quality is a public option that will force the insurance companies to compete and keep them honest,” the president said in the statement. “I look forward to a final product that achieves these very important goals.”

While some have drawn lines in the sand, Rahm Emanuel gets it right. What is important is the final result and that solutions be offered to problems.  Some on the left have concentrated too much on the path, threatening to vote against bills which achieve the desired goals if they do not do it in the manner they prefer.

If a perfect health reform bill was passed which imposed the necessary restrictions on insurance companies it would not be necessary to have a public  plan. It might be argued that to demand a public plan is to be conceding that the health care legislation will not produce the needed reform. Of course this is also a realistic position, knowing that there is a strong chance that insurance companies will find ways to circumvent regulations to maximize profits regardless of what laws are written.

Many liberal bloggers such as Ezra Klein question why any compromise is needed with the Democrats controlling the White House and both houses of Congress. If Congress can pass legislation which contains a public plan then this whole discussion of compromise becomes irrelevant. The reason that it does remain a matter of discussion is that it is not yet certain whether the Democrats will remain united to pass a bill with a public plan. Moderate Democrats might join the Republicans in voting against a public plan.  It is then that we should remember Rahm Emanual’s stress on the goal rather than the path and still push for legislation which prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to those who need it in order to maximize profits.

Update: Will Wilkinson comments on Ezra’s Klein’s response to Emanuel. I have commented further on Wilkinson’s post here.

Will the Left or Right Kill Health Care Reform?

It is far from certain at this point whether health care reform will succeed. Most insiders believe that Congress will enact some form of comprehensive health care reform but it is easy to envision scenarios where they are not successful. The opposition comes mainly from the right, but there is also the view (perhaps as this is more of a man bites dog storyline) that it is the left which will cause health care reform to fail. Cici Connolly of The Washington Post examines how some activists are targeting Democrats:

In recent days — and during this week’s congressional recess — left-leaning bloggers and grass-roots organizations such as, Health Care for America Now and the Service Employees International Union have singled out Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Arlen Specter (Pa.) and Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) for the criticism more often reserved for opposition party members…

Much of the sparring centers around whether to create a government-managed health insurance program that would compete with private insurers. Obama supports the concept, dubbed the “public option,” but he has been vague on details. Left-of-center activists want a powerful entity with the ability to set prices for doctors and hospitals.

But in the Senate, where the Democrats do not have the 60 votes needed to stop a filibuster, members are weighing alternatives such as a nonprofit cooperative or a “fallback” provision that would kick in only if market reforms fail.

Pushing for the public plan does have popular support but Connolly notes that this does not mean that a majority supports the entire agenda of those on the left who see a public plan as a means of transitioning to a single payer plan. She notes that, “While recent polls show high initial support for a government option, the number declines if told the insurance industry could fold as a result.” Many who support providing the option of a public plan also desire to continue with their current insurance.

There are signs that this pressure is influencing some Democrats but others fear this is counterproductive:

One Democratic strategist who is working full-time on health reform was apoplectic over what he called wasted time, energy and resources by the organizations.

The strategist, who asked for anonymity because he was criticizing colleagues, said: “These are friends of ours. I would much rather see a quiet call placed by [Obama chief of staff] Rahm Emanuel saying this isn’t helpful. Instead, we try to decimate them?”

If this effort is based upon pushing Democrats to support the public plan there should not necessarily be adverse consequences on the success of health care reform. Of greater concern is talk among some progressives of voting against a health care reform bill which does not contain a public plan. I can envision scenarios where Republicans have enough votes to filibuster a bill which contains a public plan, but a bill without a public plan could also fail if both Republicans and some progressives vote against it.

The goals should be to reduce the number of people who lack insurance and to reduce insurance problems such as people being cut off when they develop a serious illness. These are serious problems which need to be addressed and there are multiple possible solutions. Ideological battles such as over whether to have a single payer plan should not be used to prevent meaningful reform, even if the reform will inevitably fall short of what some desire.

Barack Obama and Wanda Sykes At White House Correspondent’s Dinner


Barack Obama poked fun at himself and others at the White House Correspondent’s Association Dinner. The full video is above and here are some highlights:

On the first 100 days: “Good evening, everybody, I would like to welcome you to the 10-day anniversary of my First 100 Days. During the second 100 days, we will design, build and open a library dedicated to my first 100 days. My next 100 days will be so successful, I will complete them in 72 days. And on the 73rd day, I will rest.”

On not wanting to be there: “I must confess I really did not want to be here tonight. But I knew I had to come. That’s one more problem that I inherited from George W. Bush.”

On the news media: “Most of you covered me. All of you voted for me. Apologies to the Fox table.”

On his daughters: “Sasha and Malia aren’t here tonight because they’re grounded. You can’t just take Air Force One on a joy ride to Manhattan. I don’t care whose kids you are.”

On  Michael Steele: “Michael Steele is in the house tonight. Or as he would say, ‘In the heezy.’ Wassup? Michael, for the last time, the Republican Party does not qualify for a bailout. Rush Limbaugh does not count as a troubled asset, I’m sorry.”

On Rahm Emanuel: “This is a tough holiday for Rahm. He’s not used to saying the word ‘day’ after ‘mother.'”

On  Hillary Clinton: “These days, we could not be closer. In fact, the minute she got back from Mexico, she pulled me into a hug and said I should go down there myself.”

On Dick Cheney: “Dick Cheney was supposed to be here, but he is very busy working on his memoirs, tentatively titled, ‘How to Shoot Friends and Interrogate People.'”

On John Boehner’s  fake tan: “We have a lot in common: He is a person of color. Although not a color that appears in the natural world.”

On his Teleprompter: “In the next hundred days, I will learn to go off prompter — and Joe Biden will learn to stay on it.”

On his new loyal friend: “He’s warm, he’s cuddly, loyal, enthusiastic; you just have to keep him in on a tight leash — every once in a while he goes charging off and gets himself into trouble. Enough about Joe Biden.”


Wanda Sykes spoke next (video above). Like Obama, she targeted Rush Limbaugh:

“He just wants the country to fail,” Sykes said of Limbaugh. “To me that’s treason. He’s not saying anything different than what Osama Bin Laden is saying. You might want to look into this, sir, because I think Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker but he was just so strung out on Oxycontin he missed his flight. … Rush Limbaugh, I hope the country fails, I hope his kidneys fail, how about that? He needs a good waterboarding, that’s what he needs.”

She also made fun of Sarah Palin:

“Gov Palin is not here tonight. She pulled out at the last minute. Somebody should tell her that’s not really how you practice abstinence.”

Howard Dean Gaining Momentum for HHS

After Tom Daschle’s nomination to head HHS was withdrawn, Howard Dean’s name was raised frequently in the blogosphere. The conventional wisdom seemed to be that Dean had little chance due to being seen as too partisan and, probably more importantly, because of not being on good terms with Rahm Emanuel. Marc Ambinder writes that Dean is picking up some momentum. Senator Tom Harkin and Congressman Raul Grijalva have both endorsed Dean.

This hardly means that Dean is likely to get the position, with many other names still being considered, but it no longer looks as far fetched as it did a couple days ago.

The West Wing on Steroids


The West Wing gave viewers the feeling of seeing how an idealized White House works from the inside.  The initial concept, before President Bartlett, and later Santos, became major characters, was to concentrate on those who worked in the West Wing far more than the president. Not surprisingly, there are now many articles about how the Obama White House operates, even though it has only been in operation for a short time. All reports suggest that The West Wing was accurate in portraying modern presidencies as concentrating on the West Wing staff as opposed to the cabinet.

Cabinet officials played a relatively minor role on The West Wing and, while their importance in the real world is greater than portrayed, the West Wing is really where the action is. The Politico describes the Obama White House as being dominated by a West Wing on steroids.

Not even a week has passed since he was sworn in, but already Obama is moving to create perhaps the most powerful staff in modern history – a sort of West Wing on steroids that places no less than a half-dozen of his top initiatives into the hands of advisers outside the Cabinet.

For all the talk of his “Team of Rivals” pick in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Obama last week handed the two hottest hotspots in American foreign policy to presidential envoys – one to former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, and the other to a man who knows his way around Foggy Bottom better than Clinton does, Richard Holbrooke.

The State Department represents a special case as Hillary Clinton was largely placed there to prevent her from having a separate power base to cause trouble from the Senate and it was expected that foreign policy would be run from the White House to circumvent her. (It would have been hard to send Hillary to Gitmo when Obama is promising to close it.)

While the Secretary of State is a special case, a similar pattern of concentrating power in the White House is also seen in other areas. One reason is that many problems involve more than one Cabinet agency and it is helpful to have someone at the White House who can coordinate action involving different government agencies.

“Some of the Cabinet agencies were created before the most pressing issues of today,” this aide said. “To have people cut through a bureaucracy that doesn’t match the times we’re in is just more effective.”

What’s notable about Obama’s approach – and expands on the approaches taken by Bush and Bill Clinton – is the number of different areas where Obama is seeking to tap a central figure, outside the Cabinet structure, who will carry out his wishes.

Handling a prized portfolio of issues including national security, homeland security, the economy and energy are a handful of super-staffers who could just as easily have filled top Cabinet posts: National Security Adviser Jim Jones, Homeland Security Adviser John Brennan, Director of National Economic Council Larry Summers and likely Urban Policy director Adolfo Carrion.

Summers and Browner bring significant stature as Cabinet veterans in the Clinton administration, having served, respectively, as Treasury Secretary and EPA director. Carrion was considered for HUD secretary. Jones, a retired Marine four-star general and former head of NATO, has the credentials to be Defense Secretary.

Concentrating power in the West Wing allows Obama to choose the advisers he most trusts to handle various issues, along with bypassing the need for Senate approval in the case of possibly controversial choices. Proximity to the president also gives West Wing staffers greater influence. Tom Daschle is one exception who fills the role of both a member of the cabinet and health-reform czar:

Tom Daschle scored a ground floor office in the West Wing not by running Health and Human Services – but because of his role as Obama’s health-reform czar…

Daschle’s most important job for Obama isn’t running the massive agency, the Cabinet duties. It’s designing and implementing a health-care overhaul – and Daschle reportedly pushed to make sure the health reform job would part of his portfolio if he took the agency slot.

Location has been important for years, including in the Reagan administration:

Obama’s moves formalize what White House veterans have always known – the Cabinet is close to a president, his White House team closer and more influential.

“The only people who believe a Cabinet government exists are political scientists,” observed Ken Duberstein, a former Chief of Staff to President Reagan. “Location, location, location – proximity to the president is always what matters.”

Hillary Clinton had an office in the West Wing when her husband was president. The importance of the West Wing was also seen under George Bush:

Bush had powerful foreign and national security policy figures in his first-term Cabinet, but his domestic policy came entirely out of a White House in which figures such as Dick Cheney and Karl Rove were indisputably the Decider’s deciders. Cheney, especially, played a decisive role in setting economic and energy policy, was often the administration’s top Capitol Hill liaison and kept close watch on nominations and appointments.

“Every administration in recent years has worked to centralize power in the White House.” observed Bruce Reed, who served at the time as White House domestic policy chief under Clinton and now leads the Democratic Leadership Council. “In difficult times, with a host of front-burner issues, the president wants a lot of top people close to him.”

Cabinet agencies may only be a few blocks away, but their distance in practice is far more vast. It’s the White House staff that has the president’s ear, that briefs him each day and fields his questions and complaints. It’s here where decisions are most often made, not in the full-dress Cabinet sessions.

If the West Wing staff runs the government, then the chief of staff might be the second most powerful person in post-Cheney Washington (with the president now moving up to number one). The New York Times has a profile on Rahm Emanuel (who sounds as influential as Leo McGarry was on The West Wing):

Mr. Emanuel is arguably the second most powerful man in the country and, just a few days into his tenure, already one of the highest-profile chiefs of staff in recent memory. He starred in his own Mad magazine cartoon, won the “Your New Obama Hottie” contest on and has become something of a paparazzi icon around Washington.

In recent months, he has played a crucial role in the selection and courtship of nearly every cabinet member and key White House staff member.

Renowned as a fierce partisan, he has been an ardent ambassador to Republicans, including Mr. Obama’s defeated rival, Senator John McCain of Arizona. He has exerted influence on countless decisions; in meetings, administration officials say, Mr. Obama often allows him to speak first and last.

“You can see how he listens and reacts to Rahm,” said Ron Klain, the chief of staff to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. “You can see that his opinion is being shaped.”

Optimism That Obama Will Support Decriminialization of Marijuana

A few days ago I wrote about fears that Obama might be backtracking on his previous comments opposing the drug war. Some Obama supporters remain optimistic that he will eventually back decriminalization of marijuana, even if not until a second term. Esquire writes on this optimism:

In July, Obama told Rolling Stone that he believed in “shifting the paradigm” to a public-health approach: “I would start with nonviolent, first-time drug offenders. The notion that we are imposing felonies on them or sending them to prison, where they are getting advanced degrees in criminality, instead of thinking about ways like drug courts that can get them back on track in their lives — it’s expensive, it’s counterproductive, and it doesn’t make sense.”

Meanwhile, economists have been making the beer argument. In a paper titled “Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition,” Dr. Jeffrey Miron of Harvard argues that legalized marijuana would generate between $10 and $14 billion in savings and taxes every year — conclusions endorsed by 300 top economists, including Milton “Free Market” Friedman himself.

And two weeks ago, when the Obama team asked the public to vote on the top problems facing America, this was the public’s No. 1 question: “Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?”

But alas, the answer from Camp Obama was — as it has been for years — a flat one-liner: “President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.” And at least two of Obama’s top people are drug-war supporters: Rahm Emanuel has been a long-time enemy of reform, and Joe Biden is a drug-war mainstay who helped create the position of “drug czar.”

Meanwhile, in 2007, the last year for which statistics are available, 782,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana-related crimes (90 percent of them for possession), with approximately 60,000 to 85,000 of them serving sentences in jail or prison. It’s the continuation of an unnecessary stream of suffering that now has taught generations of Americans just how capricious their government can be. The irony is that the preference for “decriminalization” over legalization actually supports the continued existence of criminal drug mafias.

Nevertheless, the marijuana community is guardedly optimistic. “Reformers will probably be disappointed that Obama is not going to go as far as they want, but we’re probably not going to continue this mindless path of prohibition,” NORML executive director Allen St. Pierre tells me.

Some of Obama’s biggest financial donors are friends of the legalization movement, St. Pierre notes. “Frankly, George Soros, Peter Lewis, and John Sperling — this triumvirate of billionaires — if those three men, who put up $50 to $60 million to get Democrats and Obama elected, can’t pick up the phone and actually get a one-to-one meeting on where this drug policy is going, then maybe it’s true that when you give money, you don’t expect favors.”

Another member of that moneyed group: Marsha Rosenbaum, the former head of the San Francisco office of the Drug Policy Alliance, who quit last year to become a fundraiser for Obama and “bundled” an impressive $204,000 for his campaign. She said that based on what she hears from inside the transition team, she expects Obama to play it very safe. “He said at one point that he’s not going to use any political capital with this — that’s a concern,” Rosenbaum tells me. And the Path to Change will probably have to pass through the Valley of Studies and Reports. “I’m hoping that what the administration will do,” she says, “is something this country hasn’t done since 1971, which is to undertake a presidential commission to look at drug policy, convene a group of blue-ribbon experts to look at the issue, and make recommendations.”

But ultimately, Rosenbaum remains confident that those recommendations would call for an end to the drug war. “Once everything settles down in the second term, we have a shot at seeing some real reform.”

Cabinet Diversity and Jews

I hope that the election of Barack Obama is a sign that the country can move beyond identity politics. While it is understandable that blacks would vote overwhelmingly for Obama, most of us voted based upon the candidate who was the best person for the job, totally ignoring race. That was a great moment in our history. Of course considering how awful the entire Republican field was, along with how terrible the other top tier Democratic candidates were, it didn’t take much to be the best candidate. The prospects of any of those other awful choices becoming president should have been enough to get Americans to drop all racial prejudices and elect Obama.

Unfortunately coverage of the cabinet appointments was often dominated by considerations of diversity. Even if he did make some choices I didn’t agree with, Obama did manage to combine both diversity and competence in his choices.  I hope Matthew Yglesias is writing with tongue in cheek when he wrote, “It seems Barack Obama is giving us a cabinet with no Jewish members. Plenty of Jews in non-cabinet top spots (Axelrod, Summers, Orszag) so I guess we’ll have to just run things from behind the scenes.”

Would Matthew have preferred to see John McCain elected and have Joe Lieberman in the cabinet?

There’s no doubt as to how he would answer that one. I wouldn’t judge government officials based upon their religion, but if I were to root for Jewish influence I’ll take Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel over any number of cabinet officials. Plus Orszag’s position at OMB is actually cabinet level, and Summers’s position as Director of the National Economic Council are hardly trivial.

This should be more than enough for the Ron Paul types to be screaming about a Jewish conspiracy taking over the government. Plus having Axelrod and Emanuel trump having Josh Lyman and Toby Ziegler on The West Wing, and it’s even in the real world as opposed to on television.

Two Potential Winners From The Blagojevich Scandal

The Rod Blagojevich story is not really the kind of story I like seeing dominate the news as a blogger. The facts appear pretty clear and are covered by so many sources that there is no need for people to read about it in a blog. Even worse from the perspective of blogging is that there isn’t any real controversy here. I think that most people on both the left and right think that Blagojevich should be removed from office, imprisoned, and used as an example of the type of politics that hopefully most people in both parties want to see ended. In some cases a politician involved in a scandal might receive some support from some in their party, but in this case Democrats are offering no support, with Senate Democrats calling on him to step down.

There is one update to my post from yesterday. Rahm Emanuel has denied being the one who gave the FBI the tip on Blagojevich.

Besides the late night comics, I can see two people who might benefit from this scandal:

The complaints that Caroline Kennedy might be appointed Senator from New York based upon her family connections all of a sudden look like far less of a problem compared to Blagojevich trying to sell a seat. Besides, while there is certainly a valid argument here, it also seems less meaningful when we look back at New York’s tradition of electing big names to the Senate, from Robert Kennedy to Hillary Clinton. A Marist poll finds the public to be closely divided between Kennedy and another name-politician, Andrew Cuomo.

The other winner could be Eliot Spitzer. Paying money for a hooker doesn’t seem anywhere near as bad as selling a Senate seat. Spitzer is attempting to regain somewhat to a public role by writing, including as a columnist at Slate. Perhaps he also has dreams of returning to politics. Afterall, sex scandals have not stopped a number of Republicans, as Steve Benen recently pointed out. Spitzer might do well if he could get people to compare him to Blagojevich. Unfortunately Spitzer’s biggest problem is that people are comparing the actual conduct of Eliot Spitzer to the image which Spitzer created, such as in ads like the one I previously posted here.

Scandal Day at Memeorandum

Glancing through Memeorandum it looks like this is a big day for coverage of scandals. Of course the major story of the day is Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich being arrested for attempting to sell Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat. The Swamp figures that he was trying to sell it for well under what it is worth. The seat is now up for sale on E-Bay (with free shipping). Among the interesting side stories is a report that Rahm Emanuel might have been the one to tip off authorities. MoJo Blog notes that three of the last five Illinois governors were charged with some kind of wrongdoing, with an additional one indicted but not charged. This includes two Democrats and two Republicans.

AP reports that the House ethics committee is expanding its investigation of Charles Rangel “to examine whether he protected an oil drilling company from a big tax bill when the head of that company pledged a $1 million donation to a college center named after the congressman.”

CNN reports that “The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected U.S. Sen. Larry Craig’s effort to withdraw his guilty plea to a misdemeanor offense of disorderly conduct in connection with a sex-sting operation.”

The Daily Beast has an item on The Man Who Brought Down Spitzer.

Dee Dee Myers raises Jon Favreau’s groping a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton to the level of at least a minor scandal.

With all these stories competing for news space, if there should happen to be a paternity test on the verge of being released on John Edwards’ alleged love child with Rielle Hunter, today might be a good day to let it come out.

Republicans and Meshugeneh Jewish Voters

One reason that the Republicans are losing is that they don’t understand why people do not vote for them. Don Feder of has a post, which is being echoed by other conservatives, which writes off GOP attempts at attracting the Jewish vote as unsuccessful because “dumb Jews” don’t vote as he things we should. As with the GOP losses nationally this year, the repulsion towards the Republican Party felt by the vast majority of Jewish voters has nothing to do with being dumb as Feder claims. The problem is the Republican message.

Republicans repeat their scare tactics so many times that it appears they actually believe what they say. Feder begins (before getting to the point where he writes off Jews as being dumb):

Back in the 1980s, during the euphoria of the Reagan-era, Neo-cons like Norman Podhoretz and Irving Kristol predicted a seismic shift in Jewish voting patterns.

Once American Jews discovered that voting Republican was crucial for the survival of the Jewish state, they’d naturally align themselves with the party that actually believes in national security, we were assured.

Their argument, going back at least to the 1980’s, is that we must vote for Republicans or Israel is doomed. Some neoconservatives buy this argument, but the vast majority of Jewish voters do not. It appears that Israel has actually survived under Democrats as well as Republicans. Feder’s argument is a corollary of the argument that we must vote for Republicans to be safe from terrorism. Does Feder think that all those living in New York and Washington, D.C, the major targets of terrorism in recent years, are also voting Democratic because they are dumb?

Republicans risk remaining a minority party as long as they pursue a foreign policy which increases the risks of terrorist attacks, and which undermines our national security. Threats that Israel will be destroyed if Democrats are in office fall in the same category as other Republican threats that we will be killed by terrorists if Democrats are elected, that Democrats will take away people’s guns and bibles, or this year that Obama will redistribute the wealth. Republicans are not going to receive the support of Jewish voters, along with other educated voters, as long as they resort to such scare tactics.

Feder quotes a survey on the attitude of Jewish voters to mistakenly conclude that “a significant segment of the Jewish community either doesn’t give a damn about Israel or is delusional.” A more realistic explanation is that Jewish voters did not base their votes upon Israel as they didn’t buy for a second the arguments that Israel would be any safer with John McCain as president. If anything, Israel, along with the rest of the world, would be less safe with John McCain in office. This left Jewish voters free to vote against Republicans based upon the many other issues where they are wrong.

Feder then resorts to the same McCarthyist tactics we have seen from the Republicans (and some Democrats). The attacks based upon distortions of Obama’s relations to people such as Reverend Wright have long been debunked, and those who resorted to such repulsive tactics were justifiably the ones that lost support, but in the primaries and the general election. As long as the Republicans continue to practice McCarthyism of this type they will have considerable difficulty receiving the support of Jewish and other educated voters.

If we are considering associations, Obama’s associations with people whose political views he has denounced is irrelevant. The choice of Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff provides far more meaningful evidence of the actual policies to be expected from an Obama administration.

Feder concludes:

The Republican Jewish Coalition should close its doors. Its budget, and anything else the GOP spends on wooing Jewish voters, should be equally divided between building more Orthodox Jewish day schools (thereby encouraging the Orthodox to have more children) and transporting evangelical Christians to the polls on Election Day.

That would do more to help Israel and to assure Jewish survival than the money wasted quadrennially on trying to bring a message of reason to the mega-meshugeneh.

He is half right. It is a waste of money for Republicans to seek the Jewish vote as long as they pursue extremist policies, and as long as they practice scare tactics and McCarthyism which alienate educated voters. Rather than writing that Jewish voters are dumb, delusional, or meshugeneh Republicans need to reassess both their policies and their tactics.