Mitch McConnell is in the headlines again for saying the odds are against those wanting repeal of Obamacare. “[I]t’s a lot harder to undo something than it is to stop it in the first place,” he said in part.
For once, let’s give McConnell the benefit of the doubt and suggest he is talking about the present Congress, not the next Congress, though in actual context he seems to mean both. Let’s be charitable.
The truth is, I don’t expect Republicans in Congress to be fully committed to repeal next year even if they have Mitt Romney in the White House, a Republican Senate, and hold the House.
We’ve played this game before. And yes, we are being played.
We are being played by a group of Republican leaders who have consistently shown in the past few years to lack the testicular fortitude to do what’s right when it counts — they are the John Robertses of Congress.
Republicans, at this point, are all about drawing lines in the sand against the Democrats only to wipe them away with their feet.
The debt ceiling? Cave.
The continuing resolution? Cave.
Republicans have excelled at theater and not much else. “Oh, pshaw!” you say. “They only control one house of one branch of the federal government. What could they do?”
In February, Mitch McConnell had the option of bringing Jim DeMint’s amendment to the floor of the Senate to force another vote on repeal. He wouldn’t. Why? He didn’t want to make Harry Reid mad.
When the blowback was so great after that news leaked, Americans for Limited Government and other groups demanded McConnell get in line or get out of the way. He folded like a cheap suit and in so doing promised March would be a month of fighting about repeal.
So now McConnell says he will force the issue before the election and then make repeal of Obamacare priority number one if the GOP takes back the Senate, but the odds are against full repeal. This is code for Republican leaders, timid as they are and driven by polling, keeping parts of Obamacare instead of doing full repeal and starting over.
The truth is many Republicans like parts of Obamacare. The truth is a number of Senate Republicans were willing to vote back in December of 2009 that the individual mandate was unconstitutional while keeping their names on healthcare legislation by Senator Bob Bennett that had an individual mandate.
The truth is with Republican leaders like we have in both Houses, who needs the Democrats? It was not just Democrats responsible for $16 trillion in debt. Even now, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell and the rest are trying to find ways to weasel out of paying down the debt and bring back earmarks.
When Republicans won’t fight on their ground, they just won’t fight. John Boehner has to have David Winston, a pollster, tell him up from down, and Mitch McConnell only does WWE fights — lots of theater, but a predetermined outcome negotiated in advance with Harry Reid that can get both bases fired up while doing as little to advance freedom as possible. Maybe Linda McMahon in the Senate will do McConnell some good.
There is a truth that hurts Mitch McConnell. The truth is, Jim DeMint has now been joined by Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and others. The truth is they see what must be done. Send them men like Ted Cruz to help force McConnell’s hand.
And then there is this. Jim DeMint is
parting ways with adding to the Senate Conservatives Fund. In its place will be a Super PAC called Senate Conservatives Action. Unlike DeMint’s prior effort, this Super PAC can take unlimited money. Conservatives with cash can pony up and force Mitch McConnell’s hand.* [Editor’s Note: This is misstated based on my misunderstanding. The Senate Conservatives Fund will still exist. Senate Conservative Action will not accept funds to help specific candidates, but will raise money for independent expenditures. Gotta love campaign finance law.]
Let’s be very clear here — voting to repeal Obamacare is not enough. Repealing it is.