No question that Democrats are desperate to get Republican fingerprints on ObamaCare. In fact, I notice they’ve gotten curiously quiet with their previously strident insistence that all the problems with ObamaCare stem from Republican opposition. Remember that? For a couple of weeks, were bombarded with talking points that said Republicans were killing ObamaCare by resisting it, or by refusing to help make it better, by throwing a dreadful fright into the poor widdle feddle gummint with their “shutdown” horror, or even just by thinking bad thoughts about the President’s glorious Five Year Plan.
But suddenly all those guns fell silent, and I suspect it’s because the Democrats are desperately trying to sweet-talk gullible Republicans into getting some skin into this game. They rammed ObamaCare down our throats with the ugliest, most corrupt, purely partisan maneuver in a century – there are still active lawsuits percolating through the courts that would nullify the entire law because the techniques used to pass it were illegal. The Republicans put a huge marker on the table against ObamaCare with the Cruz and Lee crusade. Remember when Democrats were high-fiving each other and chortling that Cruz, Lee, and the rest of Rogue Squadron killed the GOP’s approval ratings forever with their defiant stance? Suddenly you don’t hear that any more either, do you? The Democrats don’t want to talk about their big “shutdown triumph” at all.
So I can see the political danger in Republicans making even the most cursory efforts to “fix” ObamaCare. They should be standing firm and calling for repeal… and remind Americans that they called for it years ago, when it would have saved us trillions of dollars, and a month ago, when it would have saved millions of people from the agony they’re suffering now. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was on-message when he did “Fox and Friends” this morning:
A lot of establishment Republicans have been jockeying for position to be Barack Obama’s BFFs, if it means they can purge the Tea Party crew from the party, and resume their more comfortable role as a well-fed permanent minority that makes a decent living collecting taxes for the welfare state. That couldn’t be more wrong-headed. The GOP should be holding Cruz and his allies up as prophets, honest people in a nest of Obama liars, perceptive critics who actually understand the law they oppose much better than its supporters, and leaders who can show us the way out of this mess.
As a practical matter, any sort of “keep your plan” fix will kill ObamaCare stone dead. It won’t even take very long. That’s why Obama is unlikely to support it – he’s always understood the importance of killing existing insurance plans and forcing people into his scheme. Obama’s preferred “fix” is to offer us more subsidies – i.e. buy us off with our own money, and use the utter failure of a government program to make it even bigger.
I don’t think the Democrats up for election in 2014 are going to have much success running against the hated President of their own party, the guy who vetoed a bill that would let people keep their plans, just like he promised a thousand times. Maybe the Republicans are trying to set something like that up. I’d just caution them to be very careful about getting any of the ObamaCare muck on their hands. The message should be: repeal, repeal, repeal. But we know Obama most certainly isn’t going to let that happen. I’d take that pitch to the American people and ask for a veto-proof majority – unthinkable not long ago, but a seismic shift is under way, and it’s going to surge even higher on the Richter scale when the employer market begins collapsing.
The question is, what do you do between now and the 2014 election, when tens of millions of insurance policies hang in the balance? The last thing any Republican should do is sign onto any plan that would merely delay the collapse of ObamaCare, and the cancellation of those millions of policies, until after the midterm elections.