Friday, September 20, 2013

3 arguments against the GOP's ObamaCare strategy

Following on from yesterday's post, here are my thoughts on why the new GOP strategy on ObamaCare doesn't make sense.

1) It forces the GOP into a political corner. The President is never going to relinquish his keystone political achievement (failure?). He just isn't. Additionally, after Syria, the White House will be desperate for an opportunity to burnish the President's resolve credentials. 

Let's be clear, this GOP strategy provides that opportunity on a silver platter. 

Finally, with the midterms next year (see also), this fight will allow Democrats to galvanize their liberal base in the best way - in an emotive battle that they're almost certain to win.

2) By tying ObamaCare's demise to the survival of all other spending, the GOP won't simply play to Democratic propaganda (which paints the GOP as a bastion of intransigent ideologues), they'll also de-legitimize conservative standing on the broader issue of spending/debt. If conservatives believe that spending reforms are the key national priority (I certainly do), this strategy must be considered as fundamentally illogical. 

It will afford Democrats the political cover they need to avoid negotiations on critical concerns.

3) It fails to address the key problem with the GOP's health care policy. The party (rightly) opposes the President's law, but it fails to offer an alternative (here's mine). In turn, as was the case with immigration reform, the GOP allows Democrats to take ownership of the issue.

           Conservatives risk becoming the policy equivalent of Code Pink- shouting and generating some fleeting attention/sympathy but then, inevitably, being escorted from the metaphorical room. If we were sensible, we'd instead present our own proposals and then wait for Obamacare to implode.

Ultimately, this strategy's defining weakness is rooted in its false understanding of popular antipathy towards ObamaCare. Yes, many Americans are unhappy with the looming law. Yes, the law is likely to be a disaster. Nevertheless, just as Americans were opposed to an intervention in Syria for which they could see no justification (although IMO intervention was justified!), so too will they oppose a political battle that damages other interests without apparent purpose. In the end, Americans want results.
This strategy may well become the Republican opposite to the President's debacle on Syria.

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