House Republicans have passed a bill to repeal the Democrats' health care reform law, 245 to 189, with three Democrats joining the unanimous GOP caucus. But despite Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's pledge to "assure" a Senate vote on the measure, the odds of it passing in the upper chamber are slim, and there is no chance the GOP can override President Obama's veto. So, what did the GOP accomplish with their "symbolic" vote? (Watch Rep. Anthony Weiner's "halftime report")
The House vote was pure theater: House Republicans managed to fulfill a campaign promise, says Eric Alterman in The Daily Beast, but this "vote will not, in anyone's imagination, lead to the repeal" of the health care law. It's not even clear if the GOP will ever unveil its "so far secret 'free-market solutions'" to replace the law. All Republicans have done, then, is define "the notion of 'Kabuki Democracy,'" and refuel the Fox News "outrage" machine.
"The GOP's Health-Care Repeal Kabuki"
The GOP has just begun to fight: All this "squawking" from Democrats just "confirms that the GOP is on the right path," says Karl Rove in The Wall Street Journal. And that path didn't end with Wednesday's vote — this was just "the opening round" in a fight to "make ObamaCare a principal issue in the 2012 election." Obama and the Democrats can't relish that battle, since "virtually every claim the Obama administration has made on [Obamacare's] behalf is turning out to be untrue."
"The GOP's health care offensive has just begun"
The vote pushed the Dems to defend their law: Democrats readily admit "they've done a miserable job of touting health care reform," says Bradford Plumer in The New Republic. But ironically, "the Republican push to repeal the bill has forced congressional Democrats to rally around" the law, and "they're just starting to hit their stride." This belated "full-throated defense" is so "liberating," in fact, many Democrats wish they'd started "before they got massacred at the polls in November."
"Why did it take so long for Dems to stick up for health care reform?"
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