The course of action taken by the Republicans in the House late Saturday night and early Sunday morning portend for me, clear as day, America’s near political future—or rather its prospective political future had the Republicans been even remotely effective.
Step 1 below is what they attempted to do, and Steps 2 through 7 following are what would have happened had they been successful in delaying Obamacare (as of this writing, it’s not clear whether Obamacare will be delayed or not, but I promise you it will not).
Step 1: Delay by one year the funding for Obamacare, after which point they’ll deal with the law and probably attempt to defund it again. Do not let the overwhelmingly moderate and liberal public feel how painful it would have been.
Step 2: Without Obamacare, the country reverts back to its original state: Obamacare-less, but still crappy. The media blames the crappy state of the country on the defunding of Obamacare. The public, such as it is, agrees with the media.
Step 3: GOP House members feel good about themselves for “doing the right thing” despite the ultimate damage—not mere criticism, but damage—they will be dealt by the media (and therefore, I say again, the public).
Step 4: Next year, put the public through yet another healthcare battle (and right during election season, no less!), or, during the next Democratic presidency (President #45), undergo another battle against the passage of yet another universal-healthcare bill since the public never felt the true consequences of Obamacare and therefore are still pretty indifferent about the whole thing.
Step 5: Because the Democratic president has nothing to lose in signing another healthcare law, he signs it.
Step 6: Several years later, before the healthcare law can come into full effect, before the public can feel its burden, it’s taken away at the last minute by Republicans, just like it was over this past weekend. Nobody feels its pain; nobody can experience the hardships it would have caused. The public never truly, adamantly, vehemently opposes the idea of universal healthcare.
Step 7: The idea is proposed again by the next Democratic president (President #46), and the next one, and the next.
Had the GOP any brains—to be clear, they don’t—what they would have done is the following:
Step 1: Neither defund nor delay defund Obamacare. Let it be fully implemented. Let the public feel the pain of their uninformed (in the case of the moderates) and liberal (in the case of, well, the liberals) votes from 2008 and 2012.
Step 2: The public loathes the system, wants it changed back.
Step 3: The public expresses this desire in the next election, in which they vote a conservative majority into both the House, the Senate, and for a conservative president.
Only one of these plans is a good plan, or at least not a bad plan, and it is not the one that House Republicans chose in reality.
Can’t we stop pressuring Republicans to do our will and instead to do the will of the liberals? Not a single thing else could possibly be more damaging to Democrats.