In my own opinion, Obamacare is a bad law. It’s too expensive and will prove unsustainable. That being said, the law was legally passed by Congress, albeit unilaterally by the Democrats when they held a majority in both houses, and it passed constitutional muster with the Supreme Court. For those reasons I cannot support the tactics employed by the Republican Party.
In principle, I don’t take issue with Republicans using the power of the purse and specter of default as leverage to take a stand against irresponsible government spending. What I do have a problem with is doing so while making Obamacare the centerpiece of the fight. There are plenty of more worthy concessions the Republicans should be looking for that they would be more likely get. The use of Obamacare distracts the American people from what the Republicans are trying to do, makes certain that blame for the government shutdown gets heaped upon Republicans, and is hurting the economy.
This fight over Obamacare is a fight the Republicans cannot win. While a majority of Americans now disapprove of Obamacare, the majority of Americans, including conservatives are not in favor of shutting down the government in an attempt to defund it. Barrack Obama’s health care reform initiative is his signature achievement in a presidency that is largely bereft of achievements, truly the president’s only chance at any kind of enduring legacy. The Democrats have clearly signaled that they will not negotiate on Obamacare and to believe they will fold at the last minute and give in is irresponsible. I really believe the Democrats will accept a government default before they will back down on Obamacare.
In my opinion the Republicans are playing a game of Russian roulette with a semi-automatic pistol. Clearly they believe that if the game ultimately looks unwinnable they can blink at the last minute and agree to a continuing resolution and an increase to the debt limit to avoid default. What I feel they fail to consider is that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is every bit as fanatical and extremist in his own ideological views as he accuses the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party of being. There is a good chance that Reid sees this as an opportunity to inflict a mortal wound on the Republican Party that it may take decades for them to recover from. There is no guarantee that Reid will allow the Republicans to back down in the eleventh hour.
If Obamacare is as bad as I and many other Americans believe, it will collapse under its own weight, sooner rather than later. Yes, I have heard opinions expressed that it has to be stopped now because no major entitlement program has ever been repealed or significantly amended once it has been enacted into law. But Obamacare is unlike any entitlement program we have ever had before. It is so poorly conceived and will prove so impossibly expensive that I think even Democrats will wilt from supporting it once it goes into full implementation.
Republicans need to stop the bleeding and stop absorbing more self-inflicted wounds. The strategy may be sound but it is time to change tactics. Drop Obamacare from the agenda and look for realistic, rational concessions to pursue. One idea I offer is a CR that funds the government for six months and a bill to increase the government’s ability to borrow that covers that same period. Tell the president and the Senate that continuing resolutions and routine debt limit increases are no longer acceptable. Insist that the government will be funded in the future only if an actual, bi-partisan federal budget is passed as statute requires. There hasn’t been a true federal budget passed since 2009. The lack of a budget is one of the primary reasons our federal debt has spiraled to staggering heights.
There will be no winners in the current impasse. The last party standing will preside over a once great nation, reduced to ashes. I can’t envision how anyone would consider that a win.