Excellent piece from Andrew C. McCarthy:
In considering the Republican retreat that ended the partial government shutdown, funded Obamacare, and unconditionally extended more credit on Uncle Sam’s tapped-out credit card, my friend Jonah Goldberg argues that we should be more understanding of Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell’s predicament. Politics, Jonah aptly observes, is the art of the possible, and McConnell had “no good options” when he led the GOP cave-in to all of President Obama’s demands — a decision that, McConnell insists, was not in any way influenced by the tidy $3 billion earmark thrown in for one of his pet Kentucky boondoggles.
I agree that we must be realistic about what was achievable in the Obamacare battle. What I don’t get, though, is why our sympathetic cast of mind must be from the GOP-establishment perspective alone. Aren’t we also obliged to be realistic about the options available to the Republicans who took seriously their campaign promises to do everything within their power — which includes their constitutional power of the purse — to stop Obamacare?
Virtually all congressional Republicans elected or reelected since 2010 ran on that promise. Stopping Obamacare 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 had to act on that commitment.
Beyond promises, something also had to be done because Obamacare is a disaster for the productive part of the country. And, more urgently, that something had to be done now. This was not a manufactured crisis. Obamacare was set to commence on October 1. Consequently, Republicans had two options. Option One was the GOP establishment’s “win elections, then repeal” strategy: Do nothing for now; allow Obamacare to be implemented; assume its unpopularity would increase, creating a climate for extended, uninterrupted GOP electoral success, finally leading to a Republican Congress of such substantial majorities that an Obamacare repeal would pass both houses and be signed by a Republican president. As we shall see, core assumptions of “win elections, then repeal” require the suspension of disbelief.
I believe there is no chance that will happen. I also believe the Republican establishment, in its heart of hearts, realizes how implausible this prospect is. A few times over the last two weeks — though not nearly as often as it should have happened — Republicans taking pot shots at Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and House conservatives were asked what their alternative plan was to stop Obamacare. The usual response was to shuffle feet and mumble about winning elections. It was a meek comeback because even these seasoned politicians were embarrassed to promise a bold repeal in, oh, 2017, 2019 . . .
There is a bunch more over there at NRO but the NSA was watching so I could only steal a little of it. I think I stole enough to cover the points I wanted to make.
The GOP Establishment’s argument is premised on the assumption of future electoral gains. That’s counting your chickens before they hatch. If Hillary or some other Democrat wins in 2016 then Obamacare will be safe from repeal until at least January 2021 and maybe longer.
My personal belief is that the GOP establishment doesn’t really want to repeal Obamacare because it’s a crony capitalist’s wetdream. The individual mandate alone is worth trillions of dollars over the next decade. The GOP establishment wants to keep Obamacare but blame the Democrats for it. Win-win for them.
That is why I have been so disgusted the past few days. I came to the realization that Obamacare is here to stay for the foreseeable future. There will be congressional efforts to “fix the glitches” or even perhaps transform it into single-payer. But repeal is deader than disco.
BTW – Where did the “glitches” talking point originate? I’m guessing somewhere in the bowels of the White House. The Hindenburg had a glitch. The Titanic had a glitch.
Obamacare is the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse.