My latest column for The Week is on ‘5 ways the ‘defund ObamaCare’ crusade hurts Republicans.
Here’s an excerpt:
2. There were better, more popular alternatives. Pushing for ObamaCare’s implementation to be postponed a year would have been a much easier sell. After all, big business already benefits from the employer mandate having been delayed. Why shouldn’t lunch pail workers get the same deal? Obama has already opened the door to delays. In fact, just this week, it was reported that he would “delay online ObamaCare enrollment for small businesses in federally operated healthcare exchanges until Nov. 1.” As Steve Forbes writes, “A postponement would be immensely popular and would be a huge setback to ObamaCare.”
Another more populist approach would have involved forcing elected officials like the president and members of Congress, plus congressional staff, to sign up for ObamaCare and forgo a special exemption that subsidizes their premium payments. Conservative opinion leaders like Charles Krauthammer and David Freddoso have argued this would have been a wiser hill to die on. (This would have allowed Republicans to essentially say that Washington elites must play by the same rules as the American people.)
Aside from picking a battle that might win public support, different positioning might have split the Democratic caucus, putting pressure on vulnerable red state Democrats to take a tough vote. Would Mark Begich and Mark Pryor really want to go on the record with a vote giving D.C. elites special taxpayer-subsidized health care support?
It’s easy to see why conservatives rejected these ideas. They would have caused turmoil and chaos among Democrats. No, it’s much better to create division amongst conservatives.
And that’s just number 2. You can read the other 4 reasons here.