Obamacare was passed in 2010. During the 2014 mid-term elections, Republicans campaigned on the promise to overturn the bill. They swore repeatedly that, if elected, they would repeal and replace Obamacare with something better. At first they claimed they needed a Congressional majority to overturn Obamacare, and they got in. Then they said they needed the White House, and they got it. So why, in the name of John Adams, have they not followed through?
They voted more than 50 times to repeal Obamacare through various bills, all prior to 2017. So why are we now looking at mere fiddling it, rather than repealing it?
Well, we, the voters, have forgotten something about politicians. And yes, the GOP is made up of politicians. A few, like Ben Sasse and the House Freedom Caucus, seem to be decent and honorable men, but taken in gross, the GOP is no more admirable than any other body similarly constructed.
Thomas Sowell has written, “No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems — of which getting elected and re-elected are No. 1 and No. 2. Whatever is No. 3 is far behind.” Re-election increases their power. Work long enough as a good party member, and you may be rewarded with a run at a Governor’s mansion, the chance to become Chairman of a powerful committee, Speaker of the House, or even….a run at the White House. But all this is contingent upon getting re-elected. So they do and say what they must to be re-elected.
The GOP knows that Obamacare is unpopular with their voters, albeit Americans in general disagree. Many of those voters are still clinging to the American notion that you are responsible for your own life and well-being, not the government.
We believed the promises made by the GOP. This writer too was taken in. Taken in by what? By the glorious idea of overturning a bad law and replacing it with a good one. With the idea that our Congress might serve to fulfill its proper function, over the interests of its members.
When Trump took office, many hoped that the Congress would again vote for the repeal, and that it would be signed in short order by the President. What we’ve seen in the last 5 months is clearly far from the truth.
What we hoped were Republican politicians are proving themselves to be Republican politicians. They have gone from being a hoped-for solution to the Obamacare problem, to being part of the problem. The GOP’s reluctance to truly change Obamacare is proof that they have changed.
Republican lawmakers have accepted Obama’s fundamental transformation of our nation. Where, before, the federal government had little place in healthcare, it is not accepted by our political class that the federal government must run and oversee our healthcare, on a national level. From there it is a short step to a single-payer system.
Why have our politicians failed us? Because they lack spine. They lack the ability to say “no” when people scream at them for free stuff. In a recent online town hall, Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, was not able to provide a solid defense of changing Obamacare. He was either unwilling or unable to answer the questions. If it is the former, he is a fool. If it is the latter he is a bigger fool. The questions will come.
Where the GOP seems to fail time and again is in its near inability to communicate effectively what its aims are, and why they are good. Our Speaker of the House is a policy geek, good for spouting off on arcane policy matters, but that’s not how you communicate in a republic like ours. Voters must be made aware of what’s going on, not lectured to like a college classroom.
The Democrats and the media are hand-in-glove, we all know this. But that shouldn’t stop the GOP from finding effective means to spell out why Obamacare had to go, instead of giving in to the pressures of the moment.
Republicans have accepted too much of the radicals premises. They have accepted that if you think government shouldn’t be solving a particularly problem, you are evil and hateful. Both the House bill and the Senate bill have been denounced as bills which will kill poor Americans. This is brilliant packaging by the Democrats.
Democratic radicals see everything in moral terms. Conservatives and Republicans aren’t just differing from radical opinion. They’re not just operating on other, equally reasonable, premises. They are the most evil, hate-filled bigoted people on the face of the earth, and any compromise with them is a compromise with the enemy of all that’s good. Politics should be the game of compromise for the sake of dwelling together within a shared nation. For radical Democrats it has become a religion, and in religion you don’t compromise with the Devil. Republicans are shamed into thinking themselves somehow sinful if they disagree with the radicals.
The Republican Party is again failing its voters. Don’t forget this next year, when they come begging for our votes, claiming that they repealed Obamacare. They haven’t, and they won’t.