One of the more irritating aspects of the recent government-shutdown unpleasantness has been the “I told you so” lamentations of the defund/delay plan’s critics — as if they had anything approaching a workable alternative. I highly recommend Andrew McCarthy’s weekend column. It’s a devastating takedown of the notion that Obamacare repeal is just a multi-election Republican winning spree away. Even if we were able to achieve a Republican perfect storm, sweeping the Senate in 2014 then taking the White House in 2016, does anyone foresee a filibuster-proof Republican senate majority? Isn’t the best-case outcome of that strategy a tweaking of the law not unlike, say, welfare reforms in the 1990s — positive changes that still leave intact a trillion-dollar-per-year, failed entitlement superstructure?
As Mr. McCarthy notes, the tea-party plan was a Hail Mary pass, but those sometimes work. I will note, however, that unlike in every football game I’ve ever watched, in this case members of the offense actually joined the defense in batting down the pass.
Not only did the tea-party plan have a chance, it was far less cynical and far more compassionate than the Republican alternative. The Republican alternative to the tea-party plan boils down to this: Let the people suffer (also called “let Obamacare implode”), then they’ll come to us, we’ll win a bunch of elections over several cycles, then we’ll make it better.
Well, step one is working (if that’s the right word to use). People are suffering. Over the weekend, NBC News reported that 460,000 Americans in just two states (California and Florida) face insurance-plan cancellations as they’re being driven to the non-functioning exchanges. That’s ten times more people facing cancellations in just two states than have (allegedly) enrolled in Obamacare plans nationwide.
Imagine being a middle-aged man or woman, staring at a cancellation notice, and desperately trying to sign up for new insurance through a website that doesn’t work. How would you feel?
What’s the Republican response to that? Remember this feeling, vote for us for the next two cycles, and we’ll make it better by 2017? I know the Tea Party’s answer. They laid their political futures on the line to stop a plan that is hurting millions of Americans, and they will keep doing so at every opportunity until this monstrosity is repealed.
And yes I know that’s not how the mainstream media portrays it, and with some Republican critics echoing the media line, the tea-party message may never fully penetrate, but — at the end of the day — there’s a truth of the matter, and the truth is the Tea Party did everything in its power to stop a law that is inflicting huge costs on the American people. That was the right decision, and it was the compassionate decision.
I’m glad they tried.