Ted Cruz Seeks to Become GOP Peacemaker in the Battle to Repeal Obamacare

In the midst of the Republican battle over healthcare reform, we find Ted Cruz changing his approach to become a GOP peacemaker, rather than the disruptive maverick he has been in the past.

In a recent interview with KRIV in Houston, Cruz said:

And you’ve got to say, alright, where is common ground? What is the core thing you want, what is the core thing you want… how do we get to “yes” and get it done?

Republican in-fighting between conservatives and big-government party members continues behind the scenes, as the party struggles to fulfill a core promise… the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. While recent focus has aimed at the budget, the speculation is that the Republicans will make a renewed push at healthcare reform very soon. As it stands today, Republicans still do not have the votes.

Cruz states that his focus is a steadfast commitment to capitalize on Republican control and fulfill the promise to repeal the ACA. His new peacemaker approach acknowledges that the goal is no longer to repeal “every last word” of the ACA.

This is a significantly different strategy by Cruz compared to the stand he made in 2013 to shutdown the government over ACA funding. It’s a tall task, however, to try and unite a party that might be at its breaking point.

Instead of delivering on their promises to their base, Republican leadership fear the political backlash of repealing popular measures in the ACA. Among party centrists, for example, the idea of touching the pre-existing mandate is considered too politically costly. This weak-kneed approach is why we witnessed the party’s embarrassing, hurried push for the American Healthcare Act (ACHA) that ended in outright failure.

David Weigel and Paige Cunningham write in the Washington Post:

In the messy effort to rally their often unruly party around a measure to replace big parts of President Barack Obama’s health-care law, House leaders have been forced to leave other objectives by the wayside and focus on one simple, political goal: pass a bill they can say repeals Obamacare — even if it has no hope of survival in the Senate — to shield their members in next year’s elections.

The change in Cruz’s approach exposes the seemingly stark reality that a full repeal will not happen in 2017, much to the dismay of conservatives. If it’s not repealed in 2017, when there is a rare breadth and depth of Republican control, then it’s never going to happen.

We’ll be left with a mangled, quasi-market, big-government patchwork control over our healthcare industry… A measure that is doomed to fail from a policy standpoint.

Even though conservatives have always faced an uphill battle in the Republican party, it’s still unbelievable to witness such a squandered opportunity!

This past Monday, on his podcast, The Conservative Conscience, Daniel Horowitz explained how Republicans rarely, if ever, scale back government control. Instead, they pride themselves on simply slowing down the unrelenting steady march toward socialist-style policies, if only for a bit.

Trump is increasingly to blame based on the ease with which he attacked conservatives during the AHCA push.

As Horowitz explains:

This is exactly what gives us a Republican Party that does nothing but make the other side’s issues more popular… I want to hear [him] representing people when it matters. When the point of leverage and the point of contention to actually affect the outcome of the critical promises, on Obamacare, on the budget, on immigration, on the courts, on the Iran Deal. I want him to be with us at those moments.

The next few weeks will be a huge challenge for Republicans. There’s a wide chasm that is paralyzing their ability to capitalize on their newfound control. We’re almost halfway through 2017, and not much has been accomplished in the grand scheme of things.

How much longer can a party survive in which the leadership is consistently at odds with its base of support?

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Matt Christensen

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