A while back I posted here to caution the right-leaning activists about navigating the Obamacare minefield. Days later, and here we are, taking the first steps. Today the House passed the Upton “Keep Your Health Plan” bill, which the president has alreadythreatened to veto. He might not have to follow through on that threat, if the Harry-Reid-led Senate holds true to their usual pattern of rejecting all legislation coming from the Republican-led House.
Everybody and their dog on the rightward end of the spectrum has advice for the GOP and for activists who have opposed Obamacare since it first appeared on the scene. I’ve included links to some of the more thoughtful entries below, but I have to talk through this myself as well, so bear with me.
George Will argues that passage of the “Keep Your Health Plan” bill would essentially destroy Obamacare and remove the need to repeal it. The Senate may or may not pass it, but Obama is already trying to accomplish nearly the same thing by waving his presidential magic wand (which won’t work – see links below). But will people who don’t eat/sleep/breathe politics care about the process? Will they hold the right people (Obama and Democrats) responsible for this mess, or merely see a broken Washington, messing everything up as usual?
And the mainstream media can be counted on to aid the administration with their spin. They will go to great lengths to give Obama and Company political cover. Any mistake, any misstep by the Republicans in Congress will be seized upon and magnified. We know this. We’ve been through this on issue after issue, campaign after campaign. But it bears repeating: we are not merely running against progressive ideas. We are running against progressive ideas AND unscrupulous politicians AND an organized and well-coordinated support system AND a complicit media AND an overwhelmed populace who are just now seeing the damage Obamacare is doing. Advantage: Obama and the Democrats.
How the right handles this is critical, because even with a clear advantage (Obamacare is DEMONSTRABLY not working) there are plenty of ways to lose this fight.
Many of us have the instinct to keep from ‘fixing’ Obamacare. I do, too. There’s nothing I’d like better at the moment than to see it go down in a white-hot blazing inferno. I don’t want it ‘fixed’ I want to destroy it, along with any hope of replacing it with more government intervention.
But here’s the problem: I need all those people who are just now paying attention to see my side fighting for them.
Optics are incredibly important. If we simply chant ‘Repeal!’ at the top of our lungs and don’t follow up with the conservative alternatives, I’m afraid we’ll lose again when we should be dominating this issue. Senator Mike Lee has made some great points about positive policy initiatives that perhaps we could learn from. And there are good alternative plans out there, but few people know about them, save for those of us who live this stuff. (I’ve included links to several below.) Remember, one of the (many) unfair criticisms that has stuck to Republicans and conservatives in the past few years is the ridiculous notion that they haven’t presented any alternatives, that they’re ONLY about saying NO. But if we aren’t talking about ‘working to fix things’, if we aren’t getting the talking points down, if we aren’t becoming well-versed in bullet-points, if we aren’t dominating political discussions on television and social media, if we aren’t SEEN to be talking about alternatives, the end result is the same.
Perception is nearly everything, and never moreso than at this time. I don’t like it that we don’t examine issues in depth much anymore. I think it diminishes us as a nation. But this is the ground we fight on, and we had better learn the geography.
So we have to do two things at once: be seen working hard to ‘fix things’, and repeating over and over that Obamacare is a failure. This will take some finessing, but I think there’s a way, and it’s something Congress already does all the time: offer competing bills.
Have two bills offered in the House to provide good market-based reforms (again, see below). Have various House Republicans sign on to sponsor one or the other bill. Have them spend a lot of time – months – publicizing the bills, debating them, talking about them on the news shows and in press conferences. This appeases the people demanding that Congress ‘do something’ about the problem, because it shows Republicans talking endlessly and undeniably about solutions. At the same time, it doesn’t ‘fix’ anything, because even if the bills were offered up for a vote, neither would pass, because the Republicans would be split. And supporters of each bill would be able to go back home and say they voted to ‘fix’ Obamacare.
Meanwhile, send every House member back home to hold town halls on Obamacare’s horrors, and film those people and their heartbreaking stories. Use every opportunity to turn the conversation to the failure of Obamacare in particular, and ALL big government intervention in general. Educate people that big government is, by definition, bad government. Explain that ‘genius’ progressives come up with plans like Obamacare because they think they know what’s best for you, and they don’t trust you to make your own decisions. Explain that Obamacare PROVES they are wrong, and that we shouldn’t trust them with ANYTHING anymore.
Repeat until November 2014.
Take the Senate away from Harry Reid in 2014.
Pass (with great fanfare) bill after bill to repeal Obamacare, having tried (very publicly) over and over to ‘fix’ it, proving it’s not salvageable.
Watch Obama veto them.
And so on.
They already play that multiple bill game, so why not take advantage of it?
You can hear me discuss this in depth on the November 16th Saturday Night Cigar Lounge with Taylor Millard and Liz Harrison, starting at about 37:00 in.
ALTERNATIVES TO OBAMACARE:
Congressman Steve Scalise – The American Health Care Reform Act
Freedom Works – Announcing “A Health Care Contract With America”
Foundation for Economic Education – Can This Man Save Healthcare?
MORE ON THE OBAMACARE FAILURE
Katie Pavlich – Obama Issues Veto Threat for “Keep Your Plan” Legislation
GOP Whip McCarthy’s quotes from Democrats – What I Meant to Say Was
Breitbart – DEM SENATOR: ‘WE ALL KNEW’ OBAMA WAS LYING
Washington Examiner – First Lady Rallies on Obamacare: ‘There But for the Grace of God Go I’
Jonathan Adler – The Legality of the Latest ObamaCare Fix
Weasel Zippers – Obamacare Contains A Marriage Penalty Too
Front Page Magazine – ACORN Redux: The ObamaCare Navigators Nightmare
Project Veritas – Obamacare Navigator Fraud Continues
National Center – ObamaCare Kills Affordable Health Coverage for Black Students
Corie Whalen – If You Like Your Plan, You Can Blame Someone Else
Kristina Ribali – How the Hubris of the Left Destroyed Health Care in America
#FRN’s Sandra Pospisil-Hedman – Tell Me Something Good
Mark Steyn – Thus Spake Obama
Rick Wilson – If You Like Your Monster, You Can Keep It
Ace of Spades – Upton vs. Landrieu
Washington Post – The Backlash to the Obamacare Fix Has Already Started
Chicago Sun-Times – Insurance, Health Care Experts Say Obama’s Fix Is Bad Medicine
Minority Report – Heritage: Do You Believe Obama This Time? How About Now? …Now?
Front Page Magazine – ObamaCare is the First Time that Obama’s Policies Had Clear and Visible Results
FOX 31 Denver – CO Man Signs Up for His Insurance, His Dog Gets Covered Instead