Obamacare: The GOP’s last stand
“The final battle against Obamacare” is about to begin.
“The final battle against Obamacare” is about to begin, said Jenny Beth Martin and L. Brent Bozell in USA Today. The individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act will begin to roll out on Oct. 1, giving conservatives just weeks to stop the law before it’s embedded in the “federal bureaucracy.” Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have a bold plan to fight “this monstrosity,” by voting against a continuing resolution to fund the government next month, unless every penny allotted to Obamacare is stripped out of it. But neither House Speaker John Boehner nor Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will support the shutdown plan; other mainstream Republicans, like Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, dismiss it as “dumb, unwinnable, and logistically impossible.” This fundamental disagreement could spark a Republican civil war, said Jonathan Strong in NationalReview.com. Hard-core conservatives are spoiling for a fight, with Heritage Foundation chairman Jim DeMint saying that Republicans who do not support a defunding effort “need to be replaced.” Prepare “for a wild ride ahead.”
Call off the “circular firing squad,” said Kimberley A. Strassel in The Wall Street Journal. Attempting to defund Obamacare is a fool’s errand. Obama and Senate Democrats “will never agree to tank their signature achievement.” Indeed, the White House would love to blame Republicans for a shutdown, which polls show 71 percent of Americans oppose. But Boehner and McConnell do support a better idea—forcing Obama to delay the individual mandate by one year, by tying it to the vote to raise the debt ceiling in mid-October. Delaying implementation of the law until the 2014 midterms would give the GOP an issue with which to retake the Senate. Then they could dismantle the law for good. This strategy, at least, “has a chance of success.”
Have Republicans lost what’s left of their sanity? said Ezra Klein in WashingtonPost.com. “Trading a government shutdown for a debt-ceiling breach is like trading the flu for a septic shock.” GOP leaders must know that holding the nation’s credit rating hostage could trigger a “global financial crisis” and destroy the economy. But they’re so terrified of being called “squishes” and “traitors” that they can’t tell their Tea Party crazies the truth, so they’re pretending that stopping Obamacare is possible. A “day of reckoning” is coming, said Greg Sargent, also in the Post. Soon, Boehner and McConnell will have to “level with the base,” and admit that the GOP can’t kill Obamacare. When that day comes, “it’s going to get very ugly.”
Actually, said Stephen F. Hayes in The Weekly Standard, this is a fight Republicans win “just by having it.” Obamacare “is in trouble,” with federal bureaucrats now frantically trying to implement its reams of regulations. The employer mandate has already been delayed for a year. So even if the president wins a debt-ceiling face-off, the focus on the health-care law will give Americans “a clear reminder of who owns the coming chaos.” Fine—let the GOP bet on chaos, said Jamelle Bouie in TheDailyBeast.com.But state governments in California, New York, and across the country are preparing to enroll millions of uninsured Americans in new health-care exchanges, giving them benefits and security. As congressional Republicans throw yet another futile tantrum, the Affordable Care Act will “begin the slow transformation of American health care.” What will the GOP’s strategy be then?