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Conservatives should continue to push for Obamacare’s repeal, says author of ‘Devouring Freedom’

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Jamie Weinstein
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      Jamie Weinstein

      Jamie Weinstein is Senior Editor of The Daily Caller. His work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, the New York Daily News and The Washington Examiner, among many other publications. He also worked as the Collegiate Network Journalism Fellow at Roll Call Newspaper and is the winner of the 2011 "Funniest Celebrity in Washington" contest. A regular on Fox News and other cable news outlets, Weinstein received a master’s degree in the history of international relations from the London School of Economics in 2009 and a bachelor's degree in history and government from Cornell University in 2006. He is the author of the political satire, "The Lizard King: The Shocking Inside Account of Obama's True Intergalactic Ambitions by an Anonymous White House Staffer."

Though the odds of Obamacare’s repeal look stark in the aftermath of President Barack Obama’s re-election, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Jim Antle argues that the law’s repeal remains a worthwhile pursuit for the GOP.

“The implementation of Obamacare is going to be rife with problems,” Antle told The Daily Caller in an interview about his new book, “Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped.”

“Those problems will either be solved by blaming the remaining private sector elements, further expanding government, and moving toward a single payer health care system, or they will be solved by unwinding Obamacare’s tangled web of regulations, mandates, and subsidies, moving toward a genuine free market in health care.”

“I argue in ‘Devouring Freedom’ that the Republicans have really badly misplayed the health care issue,” he continued.

“They have traditionally just opposed whatever the Democrats wanted to do or offered watered down versions of the same. But I think Republicans are right to keep Obamacare repeal a live issue, even if the election and Supreme Court decision made it difficult to accomplish that cleanly. A malfunctioning entitlement can’t survive indefinitely with just one party’s support. This is really fundamental to whether we are going to have limited government in this country.”

While in his book Antle documents the government’s ever-expanding role in the lives of its citizens, he says the cause of reversing course is not entirely hopeless. Among the things that need to be done, he said, is change the narrative that big government is good for the poor.

“I think conservatives and libertarians have to break this narrative that big government hurts the rich and helps the poor,” Antle said.

“In many cases, the opposite is true. The new welfare queens are General Electric, General Motors, the big pharmaceutical companies that helped pass Obamacare and profit from its mandates and subsidies, Solyndra, and a whole host of crony capitalists.”

See TheDC’s full interview with Antle below, about his book, America’s debt problem, whether the tea party is still a strong force and much more:

Why did you write the book?

I think for a lot of conservatives Barack Obama’s presidency has been something of an emotional roller coaster ride. There was the feeling of defeat after he was first elected, maybe that the idea of a center-right country was slipping away. Then for a very long time, Obama didn’t have much to show for his three-fifths Democratic majorities in Congress. The stimulus didn’t stimulate, cap and trade stalled, Obamacare was a tough slog. Then came the 2010 elections and the constitutional challenge to Obamacare, raising the very real prospect that many of Obama’s gains would be reversed.

We all know how that turned out. Many conservatives are back to where they started from when Obama became president. So the question posed in the subtitle of “Devouring Freedom” — “can big government ever be stopped?” — was one I thought worth exploring. (It would have been worth exploring even if Mitt Romney had been elected.) What I found is that conservatives shouldn’t give up just yet.

How have you felt the devouring of freedom during the Age of Obama?

I haven’t had the audacity to try to create jobs as a small businessman or feed the poor while holding politically incorrect religious beliefs, so for me the personal impact has been limited to watching friends struggle economically. But I believe Reagan is right: As government expands, liberty contracts. (I actually devote a chapter of Devouring Freedom to making that argument.) Rand Paul echoed that case in his CPAC speech Thursday.

Every dollar government spends is sucked out of the private economy. Every law or regulation limits the scope of permissible human action. That’s true even when government does necessary and important things. We need to recognize the trade-offs inherent in government growth and not just all every good thing “freedom.” Based on how much government has expanded in recent years, we’re devouring a lot of freedom.

Your book talks about Obamacare. Is it rational for the GOP to continue to push for the repeal of Obamacare, as some in the House and the Senate continue to do? Now that Obama’s been re-elected, hasn’t the season to fight Obamacare come and gone, and the best the GOP could hope to do, at least legislatively, is push for reforms that would make the health care law slightly more palatable and efficient?

The implementation of Obamacare is going to be rife with problems. Those problems will either be solved by blaming the remaining private sector elements, further expanding government, and moving toward a single payer health care system. Or they will be solved by unwinding Obamacare’s tangled web of regulations, mandates, and subsidies, moving toward a genuine free market in health care.

I argue in “Devouring Freedom” that the Republicans have really badly misplayed the health care issue. They have traditionally just opposed whatever the Democrats wanted to do or offered watered down versions of the same. But I think Republicans are right to keep Obamacare repeal a live issue, even if the election and Supreme Court decision made it difficult to accomplish that cleanly. A malfunctioning entitlement can’t survive indefinitely with just one party’s support. This is really fundamental to whether we are going to have limited government in this country.