Could the Obamacare defunding effort have worked?

Andrew McCarthy of NRO has written an important article evaluating the failure of the GOP shutdown, and the GOP establishment line that it was a suicide mission that never could have worked. More importantly, he considers the alternative offered by the establishmentarians, "winning elections."

Obamacare was set to commence on October 1. Consequently, Republicans had two options. Option One was the GOP establishment's "win elections, then repeal" strategy: Do nothing for now; allow Obamacare to be implemented; assume its unpopularity would increase, creating a climate for extended, uninterrupted GOP electoral success, finally leading to a Republican Congress of such substantial majorities that an Obamacare repeal would pass both houses and be signed by a Republican president. As we shall see, core assumptions of "win elections, then repeal" require the suspension of disbelief.

Option Two was the Cruz/Lee defunding effort.

As McCarthy notes, at a minimum, two federal election cycles (4 years) and more likely 3 (6 years) would be required to install a GOP president and a filibuster-proof Senate majority. And this assumes everything breaks the GOP's way. BUT:

The Democrats, the media, and all the Left will tirelessly portray any proposed repeal of Obamacare as a callous denial -- a removal -- of coverage from millions of underprivileged Americans, including those struggling with sickness. Moderates and "compassionate conservatives" already lecture us about the need to get real and make our peace with the welfare state; what will they be saying four or six or eight or who knows how many years from now? They will be arguing that Obamacare's prodigious infrastructure is now part of our social fabric -- that repealing it at this point (whenever that point happens) would be radical, the very antithesis of the Burkean conservative disposition. The GOP's will to fight for repeal -- which has never been as strong on action as it is on election-season rhetoric -- will dissipate.

McCarthy readily concedes that defunding, his Option Two, was a Hail Mary pass, but also notes that such desperation measures sometimes work. His dissection of what would have been necessary for it to work this time on Obamacare is the real takeaway.

There is much more to McCarthy's argument, and it deserves careful reading in its entirety. The GOP has a lot of self-reflection to do.

Hat tip: Mark Levin

Andrew McCarthy of NRO has written an important article evaluating the failure of the GOP shutdown, and the GOP establishment line that it was a suicide mission that never could have worked. More importantly, he considers the alternative offered by the establishmentarians, "winning elections."

Obamacare was set to commence on October 1. Consequently, Republicans had two options. Option One was the GOP establishment's "win elections, then repeal" strategy: Do nothing for now; allow Obamacare to be implemented; assume its unpopularity would increase, creating a climate for extended, uninterrupted GOP electoral success, finally leading to a Republican Congress of such substantial majorities that an Obamacare repeal would pass both houses and be signed by a Republican president. As we shall see, core assumptions of "win elections, then repeal" require the suspension of disbelief.

Option Two was the Cruz/Lee defunding effort.

As McCarthy notes, at a minimum, two federal election cycles (4 years) and more likely 3 (6 years) would be required to install a GOP president and a filibuster-proof Senate majority. And this assumes everything breaks the GOP's way. BUT:

The Democrats, the media, and all the Left will tirelessly portray any proposed repeal of Obamacare as a callous denial -- a removal -- of coverage from millions of underprivileged Americans, including those struggling with sickness. Moderates and "compassionate conservatives" already lecture us about the need to get real and make our peace with the welfare state; what will they be saying four or six or eight or who knows how many years from now? They will be arguing that Obamacare's prodigious infrastructure is now part of our social fabric -- that repealing it at this point (whenever that point happens) would be radical, the very antithesis of the Burkean conservative disposition. The GOP's will to fight for repeal -- which has never been as strong on action as it is on election-season rhetoric -- will dissipate.

McCarthy readily concedes that defunding, his Option Two, was a Hail Mary pass, but also notes that such desperation measures sometimes work. His dissection of what would have been necessary for it to work this time on Obamacare is the real takeaway.

There is much more to McCarthy's argument, and it deserves careful reading in its entirety. The GOP has a lot of self-reflection to do.

Hat tip: Mark Levin

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