What if, instead of throwing its political energy into a failing effort to defund Obamacare, the Republican Party had spent the month of August, and then September, and now October, pounding the Obama administration on the arrival of the president’s national health care scheme? What if the days before October 1 had been filled with Republican predictions of calamity, and the days after filled with Republican exploitation of that calamity? If the GOP had taken that path, the party might be in a very different place than it is today. The White House, too.
Hindsight is always 20-20. But in this case foresight was also 20-20. As Byron observes:
Everyone knew the first of October would bring the opening of the Obamacare exchanges, and there was good reason to think the opening would be troubled. Why did Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, one of the architects of the law, express concern in April that the Obama administration was failing to prepare the public for what he feared might be a “train wreck”? Why did Gary Cohen, a key player in the Obamacare bureaucracy, say a month earlier that he worried the Obamacare exchanges would be “a Third World experience” for consumers?
Why did President Obama delay the employer mandate? Why did the administration give up in advance on the task of verifying whether Obamacare subsidy recipients actually qualify for their subsidies, opening the door to the possibility of widespread fraud? And most importantly, why did the administration in July back away from President Obama’s famous claim that anyone satisfied with his or her health plan could keep it after the arrival of Obamacare, no matter what?
All of this occurred because everyone understand that October 1 would trigger a massive Obamacare debacle for the Democrats, barring a bigger debacle elsewhere in the news. And everyone with a robust sense of reality understood that a Republican drive to defund Obamacare would fail and probably create that bigger news debacle.
One last question: Why did Ted Cruz lead Republicans into the “defund” effort? Was it due to poor judgment or was it an effort to become the Tea Party’s favorite for 2016? It doesn’t really matter.