TAPPER: I just want to switch -- I want to switch topics for one second, Peggy, because this is a lot on health care and we have a lot to talk about today. But I do want to make one point and that is, the Wyden-Bennett bill included an individual mandate, which is what all of these states are suing the Obama administration over. It included an individual mandate.
But moving on...
BRAZILE: That was a Nixon idea.
TAPPER: Because there's some good politics going on right now. Over the weekend, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was out there stumping for her former boss, Senator John McCain in Arizona. We talked to some of the people who attended these two rallies. And here's what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came here to see Sarah Palin because she totally rocks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am supporting J.D. Hayworth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wanted to see Sarah. I heard most of her speech in there. I didn't agree with a lot of it, because we don't support John McCain. I'm supporting J.D. Hayworth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: J.D. Hayworth is, of course, the Republican challenger to incumbent Senator John McCain.
George, you were out in Arizona with J.D. Hayworth a few weeks ago. What did you see?
WILL: He's a large, loud former sportscaster with a flair for rousing the rabble. And he's a former congressman, so he's not new at this business. In January, the Republican Central Committee in the state of Arizona voted to close the primary, which is their right to do, associational right. You can say Republicans -- only Republicans will pick Republican leaders.
But that was a fundamentally hostile act to John McCain, whose strength is not with the Republican Party, but with independents. So this is going to be a race.
TAPPER: Peggy, is Sarah Palin doing any good for John McCain out there?
NOONAN: I think she is there for a number of reasons. Her strategic purpose, I guess, is to give him right-wing street cred that over 30 years...
TAPPER: Interesting term.
NOONAN: Yes. And that over 30 years he has lost.
However, the very tea party itself, this is a rising up of people who have not always previously been in politics. There are a lot of women in it, a lot of activists. They are going -- they are perhaps part of a reconstituted and changing -- ever-changing big tent.
I don't happen to see the -- the conservative movement as becoming a smaller tent, but I do see, I think, sometimes a tendency to forget that conservatism, apart from being a great political philosophy, has within it the spirit of a rebellion.
Sometimes, lately, it seems to take on the spirit of an orthodoxy -- do you know what I mean -- and of a strict ideology. That is not a good thing. Let a thousand flowers bloom.
KRUGMAN: Not lately. It's been pretty much a rigid orthodoxy for quite a long time.
But, you know, the interesting thing is this is John McCain, who, you know, built his reputation, became beloved of talk shows like this one as the great maverick now being forced to do a pretty good imitation of a doctrinaire, die-hard, no-flexibility, right-wing Republican, because that's the only way he can survive.
And that's telling you something has happened to the party. There is no room in this party for the John McCain of 10 years ago, no room for people who express a different point of view.