Stopping ObamaScare is the cause that most animated the conservative base, without which there would be no Republican majority in the House.
If Republicans expected to maintain that support, they all should have acted on that commitment.
The attempt by Senator Ted Cruz and several other Real Republicans who took seriously their campaign promises to do everything within their power — which includes their constitutional power of the purse — to stop ObamaScare, was in my opinion, our last and final blown opportunity to rid ourselves of this awful monstrosity. Virtually all congressional Republicans elected or reelected since 2010 ran on that promise.
If the Republicans had been less worried about the media spin on issues, and more worried about actually listening to their constituents (remember, nearly 60% of the country still hates ObamaScare), they would have held firm, and Obama is the one who would have surrendered.
Beyond campaign promises though, it should have been done because ObamaScare is a disaster for the productive part of the country. And, they blew the opportunity, because, as a matter of law, ObamaScare could not proceed unless both congressional chambers agreed to fund it, and because Republicans control the House, House Republicans could deny it funding.
Yes, they blew it, and here’s why: To repeal ObamaScare on the “rino plan”, the GOP needs sudden and sustained electoral success — despite being hamstrung by media bias. At least two federal election cycles, and more likely three or more (i.e., at least four years, and probably six or more), will be necessary. Obama, after all, will still be president for three more years and will never sign a repeal bill. Even if a Republican wins the White House in 2016, and even if Republicans by then have held the House and won the Senate, the GOP will not have overwhelming congressional majorities.
Furthermore, unlike Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats are unified and disciplined. Knowing the press is the wind at their backs, they are disposed to use every parliamentary privilege available to a minority to obstruct a repeal of ObamaScare. Remember, Democrats unilaterally enacted ObamaScare even though it was very unpopular and seemed likely to cost them dearly at the ballot box. But they are influenced by movement progressives to a far greater degree than the Tea Party influences Republicans. So important was socialized medicine to the Left, Democrats rammed ObamaScare through, regardless of the likely electoral consequences. They are going to fight repeal to the death.
These obstacles alone are enough to make “uphill” an understatement. But that’s not the half of it. To buy the GOP establishment’s “repeal by winning elections” alternative, you also have to believe that Republicans are going to repeal a vast entitlement that has, by then, been on the books, with millions of Americans drawing subsidies, for at least four, years and more likely six or more, years.
When was the last time Congress repealed a massive new entitlement program. I’m not sure that it has ever happened. I can’t think of a single example. The problem with Big Government, then, is that once these programs are on the books, scaling them back is a virtually impossible task to accomplish. The whole idea behind defund/delay was to strip funding from ObamaScare before the exchanges opened on October 1. This strategy, while unsuccessful, at least had a chance of success, and probably would have seceded if all those damned RINOs had gotten behind it.
I think defund/delay had a chance precisely because it was not repeal. The president was not being asked to erase what he sees as his signature achievement. ObamaScare would have remained law. But it is a law that was already delayed a few years by design, so pushing for a delay for another year or two was hardly a pie-in-the-sky demand.
Democrats were being asked to defund or delay ObamaScare under circumstances in which Obama himself had already defunded and delayed major portions of it. The president could have been made to see that he was just being asked to do for everyone what he had already done for corporations, cronies, and Congress.
So in the end perhaps the irrational effort to defund/delay ObamaScare was not so irrational after all. It had a real chance of working. But alas, the GOP coalition fell apart. Fractured and lacking true leadership, Republicans were unable to muster the requisite votes needed to make Reid, Pelosi and the White House negotiate.
It may be consolation to some that the rate of increase of the national debt has slowed down a little from the unprecedented levels of the earlier days of the Obama administration. But that outrageous pace of spending was established when Democrats were a majority in both houses of Congress, obediently passing everything King Obama wanted.
Democrats are now confident that after the 2014 election they can have control of all three branches of the federal government again, and get back to spending levels unhindered by the American citizenry.
They can hardly wait to start throwing good money after bad. Here’s some examples: