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GOP Backing Away from Health Care Repeal Push, Seeks Greater Chaos

When South Dakota conservative activist Barb Lindberg and her Black Hills pals failed to get enough signatures to refer two state laws related to health insurance reform on the ballot, I ascribed it to a pragmatic decision by most rightwingers to avoid a costly fight on a complicated legislative issue.

Jill Lawrence sees evidence that Republicans nationwide are backing away from a futile fight over ObamaCare. The House Republicans who made such hay of false shouts of socialized medicine in 2010 were quick to stage a symbolic vote to repeal ObamaCare. They have hilariously cited that ineffective vote as an "accomplishment," but appear to have recognized that their momentum on the issue has run out:

Republican strategists acknowledge their party faces political challenges on health care. One is the reform bill was fully debated in 2010 and it's rare that an issue is central to two elections in a row. Another is the energy level needed to fuel an effort to kill a major law. "It's going to be awfully hard to repeal it," says John Feehery, president of QGA Communications and a former top aide to House Speaker Dennis Hastert. "It's hard to maintain the kind of anger that comes with repeal."

A third problem, according to a GOP strategist familiar with health-care issues, is that supporting repeal means the eventual nominee will need an alternative to the Obama law. "That becomes messy," this strategist told me, because the nominee presumably will want to continue certain popular benefits and "there's not an easy fix to how to replace the rest of Obamacare that keeps those features" [Jill Lawrence, "Why 'ObamaCare' May Live," The Daily Beast, 2011.07.07].

Republicans appear to have decided they can take a swing at a bigger piñata: dismantling the entire federal government. When I read conservatives' denial of concerns about national default and recommendations that we keep paying the bills by axing the federal pension fund and selling public lands, I can't help thinking they see the chance to bring to fruition a long-term Bush-Norquist plan to dismantle government by spending it into insolvency. Forget repealing ObamaCare: they can repeal the whole government.


  1. mike 2011.07.15

    I've had the position all along that Noem and Ryan's medicare vote (regardless of the what we all think about it) cost Republicans a lot of ground on the Health Care issue.

    I've never understood why we Republicans like to bang our heads against a wall. The Medicare bill could not pass so they just decided to show their hand of cards. Stupid in politics without votes to pass it.

    I feel the same about the debt ceiling. We are spending too much money but the GOP doesnt' have the votes and the ceiling has been raised 74 times since JFK. one more time isn't the end of the world. GO out and win the presidency rather than playing these games and putting our party and countries back up against the wall.

  2. Steve Sibson 2011.07.15

    Cory, the real reason why the GOP establishment is backing away from repealing Obamacare is because Obamacare benefits Big Insurance.

  3. Roger Elgersma 2011.07.15

    Republicans big snafu is that it is basic to being Republican to pay your bills. They forget the basic formula that it takes cash inflow to pay bills.

  4. Roger Elgersma 2011.07.15

    They can not shoot themself in the foot and win.

  5. Douglas Wiken 2011.07.15

    "GO out and win the presidency rather than playing these games and putting our party and countries back up against the wall."

    Why sure. Do you remember what Reagan and Bush 1 and 2 did to reduce the debt, balance of payments, etc?

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