Vitriol has gone beyond partisan give-and-take in the nation’s politics. It is now seeping into and poisoning the ranks of the Republican Party.
Mainstream Republican politicians are cringing at the proposal of tea party Senators -– Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Marco Rubio (R-FL) -– to hold federal appropriations legislation hostage in their quest to defund Obamacare.
Republicans opposing this strategy see it as lose-lose. They don’t believe this tactic will work. And at the same time, they see it producing more antipathy toward Republicans and branding them as zealots and obstructionists.
I think the tea partiers are on the right track, and I think the “mainstream” opposition misses some key points.
Republicans should be thinking about two objectives.
First, fight public resignation that Obamacare will inevitably become law and continue informing the public of its devastating effects.
Second, continue showing the public the Republicans are not the party of “no” but the party of “yes” -- to a conservative agenda which is really the only viable path to national recovery.
On the first point, the tea party strategy is already working.
If Republicans sit politely on the sidelines and allow business as usual to continue in Washington, the American public can only conclude that everything is basically okay.
But everything is not okay.
Obamacare is already revealing itself as a disaster, without much help from Republicans.
It is the Obama administration itself that initiated a one-year delay in implementing one of the most central features of the law -– the mandate on employers to provide government-defined health insurance. No clearer statement could be made of the unworkability of this bureaucratic nightmare.
Now Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, former governor of Vermont and Democratic presidential contender –- and a physician himself –- calls for scrapping another central feature of Obamacare: the Independent Payment Advisory Board.
This is the unelected committee of 15 Washington bureaucrats who will play the central role of pricing medical services under Medicare.
Opponents of the law said from day one that this bureaucratic pricing of medical services would not work. Now Howard Dean confirms this.
On the second point, Republicans must wake up to the public relations battle they have lost over recent years. Radical left-wing Democrats have been accepted in the public eye as reasonable, and conservative Republicans are portrayed as the nutty extremists.