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August 15, 2013

"Delay" ObamaCare Quickly Becoming GOP Line Heading Into Fall Budget Fights

Even Rand Paul is acknowledging that delaying ObamaCare for a year might be the fallback position if repeal fails. This comes as a number of Republicans and conservatives, including conservative healthcare writer Avik Roy and The Weekly Standard pushing this line.

I have a couple of problems with this switch in goals.

If you argue that using the CR or debt ceiling hike to force a repeal of ObamaCare is a fool's errand that Obama won't agree to, what makes anyone think he'll simply agree to delaying the whole thing?

If he does agree to the delay it's because he recognizes that implementing it on the current schedule will be a disaster and put the whole program in jeopardy. Why should the GOP agree to give him time to get his act together and improve the chances of it working in the future?

What happens in a year? Will Republicans and conservatives who don't think this is a hill worth fighting on agree to fight on it next year? Considering their whole history is one of, "Just let us surrender one or two more times and then victory. Well, maybe four or five more times", I don't see why we should accept a promise not to pull the football out again in a year's time.

Pushing ObamaCare back a year beyond the midterms creates new problems.

It could push action into a lame duck Congress. Letting lame duck Congresses handle big issues generally doesn't work out to well for people trying to fight government expansions.

Imagine if the decision point is pushed beyond January 2015 and the GOP wins the Senate and the House. Then it will fall to the GOP to "fix" ObamaCare. This is what I think health care policy types on the right are hoping. They won't fight to repeal ObamaCare then, they will get to push their pet big government insurance programs. We'll either wind up with the GOP having co-ownership of ObamaCare or some bastardized version that is a fusion of ObamaCare and conservative ideas. That rickety structure will no doubt require greater and greater tinkering and fiddling, all the while the decision makers in DC will be handing out goodies to their friends to get votes and money.

The most ridiculous part of this whole idea is how terrible the negotiating plan is. Why in the world if you wanted to delay it a year wouldn't you embrace repeal at all costs as your opening bid? Right now the "delay" crowd is opening with their supposed desired end state. If you wind to wind up some place in a negotiation you don't start with that offer. You start further away so you can compromise to your preferred end.

As Ace has said many times, the GOP needs to stop reading the stage directions as if they are in the script.

I'm sure Obama and the Senate Democrats are having fun watching the GOP negotiate against itself before negotiating with them. Can't anyone play this game?

The GOP has been moving away from repealing ObamaCare almost from Day 1. Until someone makes the case that kicking the can down the road makes repeal more likely I'm going to consider "delay" just another attempt to make that surrender seem palatable while protecting GOP office holders from a backlash by the base.

If you want to get rid of ObamaCare, the only way to do that is...to get rid of ObamaCare. Everything else is excuse making.

But I guess there no possible way the GOP could ever stand up to the Obama juggernaut. You know, the one currently underwater on almost every issue in the latest Gallup poll.

If the GOP is going to constantly be afraid of its own shadow, what good are they?

Added: Yes, I know people will say "but you opposed the shutdown route last time! You're a hypocrite!". Let me just note that there was a little thing called an election between then and now. I thought a shutdown of the government would hurt the GOP's chances in 2012. Turns out they managed to do that all by themselves.

A shutdown was always a last ditch, long shot effort. Well, that's where we are now. We weren't there in 2011.

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posted by DrewM. at 11:29 AM

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