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Paging Dr. Hillcare…

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By Michelle Malkin  •  January 7, 2008 10:15 AM

This photo of a Hillary campaign supporter in New Hampshire on Yahoo! News caught my eye. Does the doll look familiar?

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It’s Dr Hillcare! Talk about a blast from the past. The collectible doll–a draft guard that you stuff under your door to protect against chill winds–was first sold in 1993 by a conservative company during the Hillarycare debacle. Now, Hill’s people have appropriated Dr. Hillcare for their own.

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Speaking of retro-universal health care nightmares, the WSJ takes a look at HillaryCare vs. ObamaCare. You’ll remember that on Saturday she tried to out-liberal Obama by lambasting his lack of a so-called “individual mandate.” The WSJ diagnoses Hill’s strategy–and what GOP candidates must do:

For “progressives,” Mr. Obama’s lack of a mandate is a kind of betrayal. Their political goal is to use incremental steps to gradually achieve a government-run health-care system — and Mr. Obama’s steps aren’t grand enough.

At least by comparison to Mrs. Clinton. Her attacks are intended to appeal to liberals because they highlight one of the few cases where her triangulating produced a policy position more ambitious, and more leftward, than Mr. Obama’s. They also highlight her history as an agent of “change,” if you consider Mrs. Clinton’s calamitous 1994 failure with HillaryCare to be helpful experience. She’s betting that Democratic primary voters will give her credit for having tried.

The new liberal consensus is that her 1994 effort got the policy right but botched the politics. Now a progressive agenda will only be ushered in by “confronting” Republicans. That’s why Mrs. Clinton — and John Edwards — posits insurance and pharmaceutical companies as villains who must be vanquished for liberal reform to prevail. By contrast, Mr. Obama says a genuine health-care overhaul must be negotiated at a “big table” including industry. Such feints toward bipartisanship and reconciliation don’t appeal to today’s angry left.

However it turns out, this less than Grand Guignol ought to provide a warning to Republicans. Whatever the minor policy differences among Democrats, their major domestic ambition this campaign season is the government takeover of the health-care market. The Republican nominee will need a free-market alternative, and a way of explaining it that is more concise and compelling than we’ve heard so far.

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Categories: Health care, Media