They call it "ObamaCare" and it's the worst thing ever. Ask nearly any Republican or conservative and they'll tell you it's Communism, Socialism, and/or Fascism. It will destroy our economy, kill seniors, and introduce Marxism into our government. Of course, we can look at other countries that have created a healthcare system and see none of this is true. But the right has always worked from the assumption that Americans are pathetic foul-ups who can't do anything other than war right. This is something that's always bothered me about them; the people who constantly talk about American Exceptionalism seem to believe the term means "exceptionally stupid and incompetent." What nearly ever other industrialized nation has accomplished, we'll never be able to do. It's ironic and hypocritical of the same people who throw around the term "anti-Americanism" to argue that we're a nation of hopeless jerks who can barely tie our own shoes. Worse, this belief in the unique incompetence of Americans is a cornerstone of their political ideology -- the founders, who they otherwise revere, put together a useless government that couldn't organize a one horse funeral. They seem to love America as a concept, but as an actual reality, well... not so much. The government the founders created is the enemy for these so-called "patriots." Modern American conservatism is more anarchic than democratic.
So it should really come as no surprise that the right greets the prospect of an actual system of healthcare with hair-tearing, eye-clawing, pants-soiling panic. It may be an expansion of government, but barely and certainly not as much of one as the left would've liked. It's an expansion on par with rural electrification and the interstate highway system -- look at what a nightmare those turned out to be.
So it must be stopped. Except, it won't be. Republican patriots have given up on defending America from the government of its founders. They're retreating from this hill and letting it fall to the forces of Communism - but they plan to take it back.
Prominent conservatives are calling for congressional Republicans to campaign in 2010 on a pledge to repeal the Democrats' sprawling health care legislation, but political and logistical realities could make repealing the bill a promise that is hard to keep.
"I suspect every Republican running in '10 and again in '12 will run on an absolute pledge to repeal this bill," former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." "The bill –- most of the bill does not go into effect until '13 or '14, except on the tax increase side; and therefore, I think there won't be any great constituency for it. And I think it'll be a major campaign theme."
Screw you American government! You might've won this battle, but the war goes on.
Unfortunately, this bold plan to save America from America has a tiny little hitch -- there's no hope in hell of it ever happening. Republicans have wanted to repeal Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid since the days these programs were founded and they haven't had a lot of success. "ObamaCare" will be no different.
[Dave Weigel, Washington Independent:]
But as Republicans gravitate towards a repeal message for the 2010 elections, they’re running up against the reality that health care reform would be prohibitively hard to roll back. According to conservative health care analysts, legal analysts, and political strategists, if President Obama signs health care reform into law, Republicans will have extremely limited opportunities to repeal any part of it.
“Anyone who thinks they’ll be able to repeal ObamaCare is kidding themselves,” said Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute. “If they want to stop it, they need to stop it now.”
Which, of course, they can't do either. So what they can do is make an empty campaign promise to do the impossible and hope that voters hate American government as much as they do. And that's not the first hope in their strategy; the second hope is that voters forget they ever made the promise. A third hope is that voters forget what the bill does -- poll shows that specific provisions of the Democratic healthcare plan are popular, even if the bill overall is not. These guys will be running on more hope than Obama ever did. Republicans pledging allegiance the repeal ticket will have to parry the absolutely true charges that they want to roll back the ban on denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, expanded coverage for the uninsured, and the existence of health insurance exchanges. Vague promises of free market reforms may not cut it.
"Republicans on the ballot next November who opposed the bill will be in the precarious position of telling voters they plan to roll back landmark health care reform which will have afforded coverage to hundreds of thousands in their state," Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Eric Schultz told Greg Sargent. "We absolutely intend to make Republicans look voters in the eye next November and make it clear they want to take affordable health care reform away from them."
All in all, things ought to work out well for Republicans. They're going to lose the healthcare reform fight, they're going to promise a repeal they can't possibly deliver, and their going to run on a platform of attacking reforms Americans want.
American government may not be exceptionally stupid and incompetent, but it's not because the Republican Party isn't trying hard enough.
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