Primary season for Republicans will determine which direction the party heads. Much of the past year, as Republicans fought amongst themselves, both sides said publicly that the disputes were over tactics, not over ideas and ideals. That is not actually true. Battle-weary and tired of their own base, many Republicans in Washington are ready to draw up surrender papers and retreat from the field fighting for repeal of Obamacare.
Randall Stephenson is the CEO of AT&T and also presides over the Business Roundtable. The Roundtable is a business lobbying group that has the ear of Republican leaders. So they were undoubtedly paying attention when Stephenson lumped Obamacare in with Medicaid and Social Security as entitlements worth keeping.
Thomas Donahue, the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in the past two weeks, declared the Chamber too would start taking a pragmatic approach toward fixing Obamacare instead of keeping up the fight to repeal it. The Chamber is committing financial resources to opposing conservatives in Republican primaries who are most stridently committed to repealing Obamacare.
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former economic advisor to John McCain's Presidential bid, an opponent of Obamacare and a man appointed to the 2009 Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, is starting a new think tank. The Washington Post reports Holtz-Eakin's new think tank will focus on fixing Obamacare, instead of repealing Obamacare.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arms of Senate and House Republicans, have blackballed the political campaign group Jamestown Associates. The group has worked with conservative candidates across the country who are challenging establishment politicians. Most of Jamestown Associates' clients are campaigning on full repeal of Obamacare.
In Nebraska, Ben Sasse, a candidate for the United States Senate, has forged an increasingly rare coalition of conservatives supporting him. The Senate Conservatives Fund, the Club for Growth, National Review, Paul Ryan, this author and others who are often on opposite sides of intra-party fights, are all with him.
Sasse, a college president, forged the coalition over his ability to articulate an intellectual, conservative strategy against Obamacare. But with conservative groups supporting him, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and his lobbying friends have thrown in against him.