Coincidence or not, the two Timesmen are very much on the same wavelength. Their shared theory: conservative opposition to Obamacare is fueled not so much by the substance of PBO's plans as it is by the racism, homophobia and sexism of people who can't bear to witness America's changing demographics.
Compare the eerie similarities in the two columns [emphasis added].
From Blow column of March 26
The bullying, threats, and acts of violence following the passage of health care reform have been shocking, but they’re only the most recent manifestations of an increasing sense of desperation.
It’s an extension of a now-familiar theme: some version of “take our country back.” The problem is that the country romanticized by the far right hasn’t existed for some time, and its ability to deny that fact grows more dim every day. President Obama and what he represents has jolted extremists into the present and forced them to confront the future. And it scares them.
Even the optics must be irritating. A woman (Nancy Pelosi) pushed the health care bill through the House. The bill’s most visible and vocal proponents included a gay man (Barney Frank) and a Jew (Anthony Weiner). And the black man in the White House signed the bill into law. It’s enough to make a good old boy go crazy.
From Frank Rich's column of March 27
That a tsunami of anger is gathering today is illogical, given that what the right calls “Obamacare” is less provocative than either the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Medicare, an epic entitlement that actually did precipitate a government takeover of a sizable chunk of American health care. But the explanation is plain: the health care bill is not the main source of this anger and never has been. It’s merely a handy excuse. The real source of the over-the-top rage of 2010 is the same kind of national existential reordering that roiled America in 1964.
. . .
If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory. The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play.
If Blow and Rich are right, then why did white-bread Bill Clinton's health care plans in 1993 meet with opposition so fierce it resulted in the historic Republican Revolution of 1994?
And if those awful "isms" explain current conservative reaction, why are the approval ratings of Harry Reid, that ultimate person of pallor, at 8%--lower even than Pelosi's?
Liberals like Blow and Rich can't or won't understand conservatives. Opposition to ObamaCare is based on its fundamental re-arrangement of the relationship between citizens and the state. The notion that every American must, under penalty of law, buy a government-approved health insurance policy is and should be anathema to any small 'r' republican.