Republican leaders seem ready to stake their 2010 election hopes on a pledge to repeal President Obama's health-care reform bill. Realistically, though, what are the odds that they'll be able to successfully undo a major piece of domestic legislation affecting the lives of tens of millions of Americans? (Watch a CBS report about the GOP's efforts to stop the health care bill)
The GOP's got a real chance: "Repeal is not impossible — not by a long shot," says Nate Silver in FiveThirtyEight. But it's "literally impossible" for Republicans to do before 2013, and only thereafter if they win the White House, have 60 Senate seats, and control the House. If the political climate stays "fairly toxic" for the Democrats through 2012, I'd give them odds of "10 percent perhaps."
"On the appeal of repeal"
The courts are a better bet: Political repeal isn't the only way to derail the law, says Zachary Roth in Talking Points Memo. Several state attorneys general are challenging its individual mandate in court. And their argument isn't "merely a bizarre and desperate concoction of the far-right" — it has some prominent legal scholars behind it. Add in the activist Roberts Supreme Court, and health reform could plausibly "end up dying in the courts."
"Could SCOTUS be the death panel for health-care reform?"
Repeal is unrealistic, but that's not the point: Republicans "don't actually expect to repeal the mandate," much less the more popular parts of the bill, says Andrew Romano in Newsweek. They just want to keep the hope of repeal alive until the midterm elections. "Repeal ObamaCare" campaigns and drawn-out lawsuits are both good ways to keep the grassroots fired up.
"The GOP's last, best hope to hobble ObamaCare."
Politically, it's all or nothing: If Republicans want the repeal pledge to work politically, they'd better go all-in, says Allahpundit in Hot Air. Promising to kill the mandate while keeping the popular pre-existing conditions ban, as Sen. John Cornyn (R, Texas) has done, is "pure poison" politically: It weakens the resolve of the party's conservative base and stokes fears that the GOP lacks "political will."
"We won’t try to repeal all of ObamaCare, says Cornyn"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Chuck Hagel was a huge mistake
- Yes, the Obama administration's green loans are unprofitable. They should be.
- 5 quick things you can do today to boost your creativity
- Want to eliminate the scourge of frat culture? Lower the drinking age.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- What would it take for humans to build a settlement on Mars?
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- Why we gossip, according to science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
Subscribe to the Week