Former Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich said Obama and the Democrats will regret their decision to push for comprehensive reform. Calling the bill “the most radical social experiment . . . in modern times,” Gingrich said: “They will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years” with the enactment of civil rights legislation in the 1960s.
This comes via Mike Lillis, who headlines his post, “Gingrich: Civil Rights Laws Weren’t Worth the Political Price.” But the problem here isn’t that Gingrich is some kind of stone racist (though he’s certainly racially tone deaf), it’s that Gingrich is an idiot. The old Democratic Party got torn apart in the 60s when racist southern congressmen abandoned it in favor of a Republican Party that was more tolerant of their views. But who exactly does Gingrich think is going to leave the party today over healthcare? Bart Stupak? Aside from abortion, Stupak would be a pariah in the Republican Party. Ditto for virtually everyone else in the Democratic caucus. If Dems lose even two members over healthcare, I’ll personally buy Gingrich a beer and let him write my blog for a day. As for the public at large, passing healthcare will make the party more popular in the fairly near future. Gingrich knows this perfectly well, which is why healthcare reform terrifies him so.