When it comes to handling Obamacare, there are, as I see it, three different approaches that different Republicans favor.
The first is the Tea Party conservatives’ favorite, and unfortunately it’s the most unrealistic: full repeal. But that’s never going to happen as long as the Senate remains in Democratic hands and the President remains a Democrat. The politicians who keep going on about repealing the law are just trying to buy your vote. They know the reality of it (one would hope), but they have to energize their base if they want to remain in power.
The second approach goes like this: “Obamacare is here to stay, so let’s make it work.” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is one Republican who subscribes to this method. “We need to look at reforming the exchanges,” she said, since repeal of the law is unlikely.
While I appreciate Rodgers’ acknowledgment of the reality that Obamacare can’t be repealed anytime soon, I reject her defeatist response to that reality.
Acknowledging that Obamacare is here to say, at least for now, is not defeatist, despite what Sen. Ted Cruz or his like say; rather, it is solidly grounding yourself in reality so that you can strategize realistically. No progress in the actual, non-liberal sense can be made by living a fantasy. What is defeatist, however, is to accommodate the law, as Rodgers and others suggest we do.
What good can come about from reforming the health-care exchanges? What do we expect will happen by making the exchanges work smoothly? Does Rodgers not realize that if they are “fixed,” people will like Obamacare and never want to give it up?
This brings me to the third approach, which some shortsighted people would view as defeatist and which others are terrified of: Acknowledging the reality that Obamacare can’t be repealed right now, and not reforming the exchanges. In other words, let Obamacare do the damage that it’s going to do; let people lose their health insurance; let their personal information be hacked through the insecure websites, as has been happening. Thus will Obamacare damage itself. This is not defeatist; on the contrary, it is the bravest and most powerful way to fight back and tear this program down. On top of that, it is the one method that distances Republicans from the program entirely. How can they ever possibly be blamed if they have nothing to do with its operation at all?
Democrats want to fix the exchanges because they know that those exchanges (and, by extension, Obamacare as a whole) are Obamacare’s own worst enemy. So why should we want to help Democrats fix those exchanges? Why should we want to help Democrats make Obamacare more likeable?
Obamacare is already working against itself. Unfortunately there are unthinking Republicans out there who just blurt out reckless bumper-sticker phrases without any semblance of a strategy (Cruz, radio host Mark Levin, etc.), who want to repeal the law now, thus protecting Obamacare and socialized medicine from self-destructing even further in public opinion; and there are other Republicans who want to let Obamacare stay but reform the exchanges (Rodgers), thus, still, protecting Obamacare and socialized medicine from self-destructing even further in public opinion. What good is it to have Tea Partiers oppose RINOs if the policies of both have the same exact effect? Both the Tea Party and the RINOs have plans that would effectively prevent damage not just to Obamacare specifically, but prevent damage to the entire notion that socialized medicine can work.
Be smart, be strategic—ditch the RINOs, ditch the Tea Party, and support the third approach to Obamacare.