The average voter would never know from listening to the campaign rhetoric of Republican candidates and sitting members of Congress: they have no intention of fighting for anything close to full repeal of Obamacare.
With the exception of a few aspects of the law most ardently opposed by K Street lobbyists, Republicans have come to grips with their new dancing partner in the statist oligarchy of the D.C. cesspool.
Typically, whenever a new program is passed into law, even if it was unpopular at its inception, the legitimacy brought to bear by signing it into law brings with it an aura of acceptance with the American people. Hence, the success of the perennial expansion of government.
But Obamacare is different. There are fewer services more vital than health care and the American people incurred immediate pain as a result of its passage. They are experiencing the pernicious effects with skyrocketing premiums, loss of coverage, and loss of family doctors. Mothers and fathers who once proudly supported their families with hard work and dignity are now being forced into government dependency and subpar care. Businesses owners are being smothered with the crushing costs. Experienced health care professionals are retiring early because they can’t juggle their commitment to their patients along with the onerous regulations, restrictions, and paperwork.
And this is just the beginning. Once the funding mechanisms collapse and the federal safety hammock for insurance companies is rendered insufficient, premiums will rise to unaffordable levels for everyone.
Indeed, the American people want an end to this law and they want it now. Obamacare is undoubtedly one of the biggest factors, if not the biggest factor, contributing to the unprecedented wipeout of Democrats in two consecutive elections. Americans want it repealed and they want it now.
Even the predication of mass signups for Obamacare (whether by choice or by force) has not materialized, and most of the new applications have been for Medicaid enrollment. The dependency has not yet reached critical mass so as to preclude full repeal.
The time for repeal is ripe, but as Politico’s David Nather observes in his latest piece on Ted Cruz, “an Army of One,” everyone else in the party has given up on repealing Obamacare. Now, like most tabloid-style political reporting, this piece exaggerates the facts. Mike Lee is certainly committed to repealing Obamacare through an all-of-the-above “whatever it takes” approach, as are a few others. But the basic premise that Republicans are ok with Obamacare beyond the medical device tax and some of the regulations on business is true. And everyone on both sides of the aisle in Washington has known that for quite some time.
This goes beyond a semantics debate over whether Republicans will hold a show vote to repeal Obamacare with a 60-vote threshold or get pressured by the GOP base to repeal with the 51-vote budget reconciliation procedure. Whatever they do will reflect the degree of sincerity they evince on the campaign trail; all show and no sincere commitment – all hat and no cattle. More importantly, they will never have 60 seats in the Senate, even if they win the White House in 2016. So, if they don’t use budget reconciliation, they will never repeal the law.
And that is how they want it.
They will not go on every media outlet from March until next October decrying every aspect of this law and warning Obama not to shut the government down in order to destroy the economy.
They will not fight with all their power to fulfill the mandate given to them.
For those who pursue politics as an ends to itself; for those who dance around the room swinging chairs over their head when they become committee chairmen, they want to preserve Obamacare, yet, reap the electoral benefits of its menacing existence.
On the other hand, for those like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee who truly believe in their hearts that Obamacare will lead to our permanent decline, they will look for every avenue to force repeal.
John McCain was right to note that there are two types of senators. There are those who serve as a voice for the cause of limited government. Then there are those who seek to benefit from growth of government, albeit use the dedicated forces of conservatism to their political advantage.
We just better hope he is wrong about his assertion that the incoming members are more like the latter, rather than the former. If he is right, the overwhelming majority of Obamacare is here to stay.
Daniel Horowitz is Senior Editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on twitter @RMConservative.
Editor's Note: This piece was originally published by Conservative Review.