McCain at CPAC

You have to hand it to conservatives. For all their faults and follys – Ann Coulter’s bigoted comments at last year’s Conservative Political Action Conference one of the more memorable ones – they do a much better job of scrutinizing their party’s leaders than Democrats.

Yes, they do it for all the wrong reasons. They get mad at their candidates if they are not homophobic or xenophobic enough. They cannot stand if their candidates want to help the poor, or stop bombing people. It is abhorrent, I know. But, unlike the democratic base, the rally behind issues as opposed to personalities.

At this year’s CPAC conference, soon-to-be presidential nominee John McCain could not even get the words “illegal immigration” out of his mouth, before a growing tide of persistent boos interrupted his speech.

This is pretty remarkable. McCain had literally just been crowned the inevitable victor of the GOP race. He is all that stands in the way of a Democratic takeover of the White House.

And they boo the hell out of him. I can’t say I am not a little impressed.

Dare I say the Democrats could learn something from this? Consider, for example, how far away the Democratic candidates are from its base on health care. Polls show massive popular support for a single-payer health care system. 63 percent of Americans support a single-payer health care plan “like Medicare” to our current system, according the Kaiser Family Foundation. A CNN poll says that 64 percent of Americans would pay higher taxes to provide such a plan.

When you narrow it down to members of the Democratic party, that number goes up. Further, the AFL-CIO supports single-payer as do hundreds of other local unions.

But, as Jacob Goldstein of the Wall Street Journal notes, none of the top presidential candidates support a real national health care plan. They could choose to back a plan like HR 676, which would provide a single-payer “Medicare for All" plan. The bill has the support of 89 members of the house. The leading candidates, however, pretend it is a political fantasy, rather than a political and moral necessity with real popular support.

“That’s a sign of how far the health-insurance debate has shifted in recent decades,” Goldstein writes. “Richard Nixon proposed a universal-coverage plan that required employers to provide coverage, which sounds a lot like what Democrats support now. But Democrats killed it, because they wanted single-payer.”

Could you picture a crowd at a liberal conference booing Obama for his horrendous health care plan, just days after winning the nomination?

It is doubtful. Instead, one would likely find widespread jingoism, little in the way of policy proposals and a bunch of people yelling “yes we can” while their stare in astonishment of Mr. Hope himself.