How fractured has the Republican Party become? Yesterday, Republicans announced that they are giving in to their anarchist fringe, and will shut down the government if Democrats don’t agree to defund Obamacare. Today, the Turd Blossom of George W Bush’s presidency, Karl Rove, has published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that calls this strategy “Self Defeating”.
Any strategy to repeal, delay or replace the law must have a credible chance of succeeding or affecting broad public opinion positively. The defunding strategy doesn’t. Going down that road would strengthen the president while alienating independents. It is an ill-conceived tactic, and Republicans should reject it.
According to polling done by Rove’s American Crossroads PAC, independent voters side with Obama in this fight 59% to 35%. Even in congressional districts that lean Republican, voters strongly say they will blame the Republicans if the government gets shut down.
But of course Rove slips in a large dose of Rovian sneaky politics. He says:
On the other hand, independents support by 51% to 42% delaying ObamaCare’s mandate that individuals buy coverage or pay a fine.
While delaying the individual mandate might sound appealing to independents, it is the only thing that makes universal coverage universal, which is the whole point of Obamacare. Even worse, if the individual mandate is delayed it will make the cost of health insurance skyrocket. Obamacare requires that insurance companies accept people with pre-existing conditions, so without the individual mandate people would be able to not buy health insurance until they absolutely need it. Or even not buy insurance and just continue to get free treatment at expensive emergency rooms. It would be a disaster.
The reason we need health care reform is that we have too many people who do not have health insurance, so they do not get preventative care or treatment for health issues until they become emergencies. They also don’t go to the doctor when they are sick, so they spread illnesses to others. These freeloaders affect everyone, and cost you and me money.
When Republicans claim to be the party of personal responsibility, they are lying. Rove is cynically trying to sound reasonable, when he is actually proposing to sabotage Obamacare.