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February 08, 2011

Obama's Trap for the GOP: "Allowing" the GOP to "Fix" His Horrific Health Care Disaster

It's a trap! ObamaCare is such a disaster it's almost, almost, criminal to let it stand as is. But the GOP needs to be firm on this: either it stays in whole or goes in whole.

Herein lies the true genius of Obama's strategy. There is almost no individual provision of Obamacare that most Republicans would vote against repealing. So all the president and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have to do is pick the least objectionable Republican repeal bills, tweak them slightly and have endangered Democrats introduce them as their own - and watch each one pass with overwhelming GOP support. That is precisely what Democrats did with the 1099 repeal. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), a vulnerable incumbent, stole legislation sponsored by Republican Mike Johanns and changed a few words, which helped the measure pass it with 81 votes on the Senate floor. Stabenow can now claim that she led a bipartisan effort that protected small businesses in her state from an odious provision of Obamacare.

Democrats will do this again and again in the months ahead. With each vote, they will strengthen their chances of holding onto the Senate in 2012 and set back the GOP's hopes for full repeal in 2013. The president's strategy is clear: Save the Democrat-controlled Senate. Save his reelection prospects. Save Obamacare. The only question is: Will Republicans help him do it?

Some Republicans are willing to so help him. Including, alas, Sean Duffy.

Duffy said that the GOP leadership could only get him to vote for the bill repealing health reform by vowing that Repubicans would ultimately put forth their own proposal to replace it:

I don't believe that we should ... just do a straight-up repeal. My position during the campaign and today is, let's reform the reform or repeal and replace. And so, I wasn't gonna vote for it. But I went and spoke to the leadership, and I got a commitment that we were going to bring forward our ideas on this replacement bill.

Sequence is important here. Any Republican plan offered before ObamaCare is repealed will be picked to death. The repeal must come first.

This is a similar situation to the recall of Gray Davis -- first he gets recalled, then a replacement is selected. If these votes happen simultaneously, the first vote is not an up or down referendum on Gray Davis but instead a multicandidate election between Gray Davis and his top challengers -- a vote he could have won.

Similarly, we don't want a vote of ObamaCare versus the Republican alternative. We need up or down on ObamaCare first, and only then a reset of the health care debate. The ObamaCare repeal effort must be kept on the level of ObamaCare versus the entire universe of all possible alternative plans, a vote it will fail, easily, not ObamaCare versus one single alternative plan (which it just might win).


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posted by Ace at 04:11 PM

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