The biggest conservative policy victories, such as the advancement of supply-side economics in the 1980s and welfare reform in the 1990s, came when conservative intellectuals and activists rallied around ideas at times when liberals didn't have compelling answers to important problems. But conservative activists often disregard health care as a liberal issue -- unlike taxes and guns -- and only become engaged when liberals attempt to advance big government solutions.Klein's argument is basically that when conservatives cede policy to liberals, liberals tend to win. Sounds correct!
Kevin Drum argues that "conservatives actually don't care much about healthcare. Just like they don't care much about income inequality or particulate poisoning." On the one hand, one has to be very careful with these generalizations; certainly there are some conservatives do care about these issues. But Drum is correct in his larger point, which is that conservatives, as a movement, really don't seem to care about, well, very many of the major substantive issues affecting most US citizens at all. Symbolic issues? Yes. But substantive issues? Just taxes, and perhaps inflation. Nothing else seems to really get conservative interest going.
And, yes, I'm excluding both budget deficits and jobs. Budgets I've talked plenty about, so I'll skip that, but jobs? Lots of rhetoric; lots of opposition to whatever Obama proposes; very, very, little in the way of actual policy ideas of their own. And again, that's not something inherent in conservative thought; Reagan era conservatives did have real ideas on many of these topics.
Anyway, Klein has been consistent on this one, including bashing House Republicans during the last two years when they ignored their promise to put forward a "replace" bill for ACA and settled for repealing it a few dozen times. Nice catch!