Now that Republicans’ attempts to negotiate with themselves and satisfy the Democrats have failed, the system is down (in more than one way) and the pollsters are already telling us that the GOP will bear the brunt of public anger over the government shutdown.
I’m shocked. Shocked.
Yes, the Democrats hold a seven point edge in the latest poll parceling out the blame for allowing those hearty “non-essential” government workers to take, in effect, a paid vacation, knowing they will, as with the 17 previous government shutdowns, ultimately be compensated for their furloughs. Heck, they are likely rooting for the shutdown to last as long as possible. (Never mind that in private businesses, “non-essential” workers never get hired in the first place).
This all means one thing. With a compliant establishment media and the public blaming the GOP by comfortable margins, the Democrats are not going to budge. Not one inch, especially when the stakes are a nationalized health care system they have fought decades to achieve. So the only options are a continuing GOP refusal to back down, which will cost them more political capital with each passing day, or capitulation, which will make them look even weaker than they look right now in their divided condition. Some choice.
This presents the left with a golden political opportunity to make a silk purse out of the sow’s ear that is Obamacare.
The possibilities are endless, especially with health care exchanges now open for business, even though the system has mostly been down, misfiring or maddeningly slow – imagine that. And further imagine what would happen to a private sector business that botched the rollout of a new product marketed for three years with hundreds of millions of dollars. The few people who have been able to complete the ACA exchange applications are finding, among other things, that they can not, as promised, keep their own doctors or their own plans, and are running into costs as high as $30,000 a year – all of this aided by ACA advisors referring to their 200+ page instruction manuals.
Nevertheless, it is going to take an awful lot more than the too-clever-by-half, endlessly repeated GOP talking point, that “President Obama is willing to talk to Syria and Iran, but not Republicans” to turn this thing around.
But the real and burning question is: what is it that Americans really want?
In 2010, the voters delivered such a thorough repudiation of Obamacare that Democrats lost 63 seats in the House and seven in the Senate. And to punctuate the point, a Republican (Scott Brown) actually won the US Senate seat of the deceased legend Ted Kennedy in famously liberal Massachusetts in a nationalized, single-issue race. Brown’s campaign promise to be the vote that would kill Obamacare was akin to Jim Gilmore’s “no car tax” pledge in the 1997 Virginia Gubernatorial campaign. And just as successful.
So have the voters changed their minds? Did they intend to completely reverse course by re-electing Obama, and do they now at least tacitly support Obamacare by blaming the members of the House for doing what they were actually elected to do three years ago? Or can the voters simply not discern the difference between GOP House members fulfilling their promise to take down Obamacare and “wanting a government shutdown,” as the left continues to claim.
At some point, the blame for all this shifts from the politicians to the people. What exactly do the people want? It has now reached the point where the only remaining option for ridding ourselves of Obamacare is a full de-funding of it by the Congress. And you can’t have your cake (taking down Obamacare) and eat it too (opposing that which is necessary to take down Obamacare). Telling pollsters you oppose Obamacare but think a government shutdown must be avoided at all costs is simply incoherent.
Unless, that is, you believe temporarily furloughing some bureaucrats or a delay in your visit to the Smithsonian or the Grand Canyon for a few days or weeks is worse than the government seizing control of our entire healthcare system now and forever.
One thing seems certain. With Obamacare passed by congress, signed by the president, upheld by the Supreme Court (thanks to John Roberts, who will live in infamy) and seemingly affirmed with the president’s re-election, this moment in time represents the last hope for ridding the nation of the spectacularly misnamed Affordable Care Act.