Jewish World Review August 8, 2013/ 2 Elul, 5773
Excuse me? GOP to blame for ObamaCare?
By Jonah Goldberg
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Affordable Care Act -- aka ObamaCare -- is off to a very rocky start, and according to the law's biggest defenders, the blame falls squarely at the feet of Republicans.
It's an odd claim. Republicans did not write the law. They did not support the law. And they are not in charge of implementing it. Yet, it's got to be the
Now it is true that Republicans have been trying very hard to kill the law. The
Let's go through each. Trying to repeal a law you didn't vote for and think will be bad for the country is entirely legitimate. Sometimes, it's morally compulsory. One needn't cite the fugitive slave law to demonstrate this fact. In a mid-presidency conversion,
There's also something just plain weird about criticizing politicians for trying to get rid of a law that is, has been and continues to be unpopular with Americans. If ObamaCare were wildly popular, the demonization of Republicans as out of touch and radical would have a bit more plausibility.
Also, the fact that activists won't give up may be annoying to supporters of the law, but just talk to any one of them and they'll be the first to tell you that so far they've failed utterly. Similarly, asking the
In fact, the only person openly defying ObamaCare is Obama himself. His
And that's just the most egregious part. The administration has been issuing thousands of waivers -- including to favored constituencies -- exempting various parties (such as congressional staffers) from complying with the law because it turns out ObamaCare can't work as written. That conclusion isn't mine; it's the administration's. That's why, for instance, HHS and the
In short, Republicans are on the right side of the argument in every particular, save one: the effort to force the Democrats to defund ObamaCare by threatening a debt crisis or government shutdown. The Democrats will never agree to such a demand, and the resulting crisis would surely be blamed on Republicans.
There is a bizarre irony at work here. Both the right and left are convinced ObamaCare will eventually become popular if implemented. Conservatives fear the "ratchet effect," a term coined by the great libertarian economic historian
There's a lot of truth here, to be sure. But it's not an iron law either. Sometimes, bad laws get fixed. It happened with
Republicans should have a little more confidence in their own arguments. If you believe that ObamaCare can't work, you should expect that it won't. Forcing a debt crisis or government shutdown won't kill ObamaCare, but it will give Democrats a lifeline heading into the 2014 elections, which could have the perverse effect of delaying the day Republicans have the political clout to actually succeed in repealing this unworkable and unpopular law.
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