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On Obamacare, A Time for Choosing

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

“We’re going to implement it.”

That is President Obama’s plan to build support for Obamacare. He portrayed the unilateral delay of the employer mandate as “a very practical decision.” When asked by the New York Times if he had the authority to take such action, Obama was incredulous:

“And if Congress thinks that what I’ve done is inappropriate or wrong in some fashion, they’re free to make that case. ... But ultimately, I’m not concerned about their opinions -- very few of them, by the way, are lawyers, much less constitutional lawyers.”

Contrast Obama’s determination to that of some of his political antagonists. When asked what they plan to do about the forthcoming implementation of Obamacare, some Republican politicians and right-leaning pundits seem to be throwing in the towel.

When asked about the emerging plan to defund Obamacare, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) told the Washington Examiner’s Byron York, “You’re not going to stop the funding.” A day earlier, York himself offered “Republicans will not stop Obamacare. They won't defund it. Their last chance to put an end to it was the 2012 election. They lost, and the chance is gone.”

For opponents of Obamacare, it is time to make a decision. Do we choose to allow the law to continue apace, hoping it will collapse under its own weight (and harming millions of Americans in the process)? Or do you fight like heck to stop the law from inflicting even more damage to America’s fragile economy and running the doctor-patient relationship?

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and a growing number of their colleagues have chosen to fight like heck. Their plan is simple: pass a bill to fund the government that defunds Obamacare in its entirety.

Coburn told York “Lee’s answer [to critics] is, ‘Give me a different strategy.’ Well, there isn’t one, because we lost the [election].”

Lee is undeterred. Appearing on Fox News Sunday, he explained the defund effort is “not about Republican versus Democrat or liberal and conservative; it's Washington versus everyone else.” He acknowledged, “there's some in the Washington Establishment – and some from both parties – that are not happy” with him, but he thinks it is a fight worth having. Not only that, he thinks it is a fight the American people can win:

“We can delay it. Maybe we cannot repeal it, but we can delay it, and if we delay it, we can stop the consequences for now. We have to do that. There are many of us that were elected specifically with this mandate. We have to do it now. The president said he is not ready to enforce it and on he is going to selectively implement the law, holding hard working Americans to the fire. Subjecting them to the horrendous fines and at the same time, exempting big business. That is not fair or right and we should not fund that effort.”

Lee is not the only one girding for a fight on the forthcoming year-end spending bill. The Washington Post reported the Obama administration is becoming “more confrontational” on domestic discretionary spending, with some suggesting he’d veto a bill that did not undo the sequester.

Many in Washington seem to believe the best defense is a prevent defense. Of course, the sequester was supposedly locked in after the budget re-sequencing earlier this year. Regardless, playing defense on spending cuts and giving lip service to Obamacare won’t put Obama back on his heels, nor will it produce policy victories.

On January 1, 2014, Obama plans on Obamacare being settled law. Conservatives plan to mount an all out assault to make sure that doesn’t happen. There is no middle of the road on this one.

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