It’s puzzling to watch the Tea Party and others on the Far Right in their efforts to defund and/or repeal Obamacare. Usually, when one political party loses a major political battle in Congress, it reluctantly picks up the pieces and moves on to fight another day. But, not in this case.
President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in March of 2010 – more than three years ago. And, as we speak, major provisions of the law are being implemented.\
Yet, some on the Far Right are still fighting a rear-guard action by threatening to shut down the Government or allowing the U.S. government to default on its debt. Some House members are even trying to find ways to impeach the President. Moderate and center-right Republicans see these extreme efforts as foolish and counterproductive and want no part of them. They remember only too well, for example, what happened in the 1990’s when the GOP-led House shut down the government. Sure, the House of Representatives has held votes some 40 times to repeal Obamacare, but everyone knows these are symbolic gestures to appease the firebrands in their midst.
So, why all this resistance by so many this late in the game? As former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau and others have suggested, the GOP resistance is not based on fears that Obamacare will fail, but that it will succeed. That’s the GOP’s worst nightmare. They see it coming and there’s no realistic way to stop it. They know that even if the GOP holds on to its majority in the House in the 2014 off-year elections and wins control of the Senate, President Obama with his veto power will still have the final word.
In the meantime, they have to put up a good face and continue demonizing Obamacare as a “train wreck” and unworkable and proposing desperate measures that have zero chance of becoming law. That plays well with their base and they desperately need to solidify it. At the same time, they certainly understand the only possible chance the GOP has to repeal Obamacare is if it wins the House, the Senate, and the Presidency in 2016 and that’s a tall order. Moreover, by the time President leaves offices in January 2017, the early startup problems will have been forgotten and millions of Americans will have reaped the benefits of Obamacare for themselves and their families.
Health care reform is something Presidents of both parties have been trying to achieve since the early 1900s when Republican President Theodore Roosevelt first tried to push through health care reform. And now the first African-American President, whom the GOP has tried desperately to thwart at every turn for the last five years, is on the brink of implementing one of the most significant, far-reaching social programs in U.S. history, certainly the most important since Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.
The long-term impact of this achievement will have enormous political implications for both political parties and that must send icy chills up the spines of Republicans everywhere.