Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Obamacare "Fail"? Really?

Obamacare “Fail”? Really?
P. Schultz

            Below is a link to an article published by “The Federalist” entitled, “3 Non-Stupid Strategies for Republicans to Reverse Their Obamacare Fail.”

            It is an interesting article that makes a lot of sense as posing ways for Republicans to govern while ending Obamacare. In fact, these proposals make so much sense that one has to wonder why the Republicans didn’t adopt these strategies before their alleged “failure” to repeal Obamacare. About the only explanation that seems plausible, at least to me, is that the Republicans did not adopt these strategies because they did not want to repeal and replace Obamacare.

            Why not? Well, just as interestingly, the Federalist author explains why: “Well, like most other parties, the most important thing for Republicans, as with most political parties in the world, is to stay in power.” That is, most politicians in power are devoted to maintaining the status quo because that is the way they stay in power. So, the alleged “failure” to repeal and replace Obamacare was no such thing. In fact, it was precisely the result that the Republicans wanted, with one caveat.

            What the Federalist guy doesn’t mention is that the Republican Party, like the Democrat Party, is composed of at least two factions, the mainstream Republicans and those being labeled “the Freedom Caucus,” or the insurgents. Of course, the insurgents are trying to take over the Republican Party and the mainstream Republicans are trying to stay in power. Hence, the latter, the mainstream Republicans didn’t mind “failing” to repeal and replace Obamacare so long as they could attribute this “failure” to the insurgents, the Freedom Caucus. The choices that the Republican leadership made were geared to this end, meaning they moved toward the demands of the Freedom Caucus without going far enough to satisfy them, thereby forcing them to vote “no” on repeal and replacement. In this way, the mainstream Republicans hoped that they could stigmatize the insurgents as “extremists” who stood in the way of repeal and reform because they, the insurgents, refused to compromise.

            Additionally, by “failing” to repeal and replace Obamacare, the mainstream Republicans delivered a message to Trump: You are not in charge. Your power is limited and you had better learn how to play the game we play here in D.C. or your presidency is kaput. This is the advantage of the separation of powers the original Federalists adopted, and it is being used for precisely the reason it was adopted: To control a president who might confuse himself with a monarch or a despot. The original Federalists not only granted power and did so generously; but they also limited that power because they knew that government power is almost always abused. They knew that power corrupts and was not to be trusted.

            It is important in assessing what is going on in D.C. to focus, not on the motivations of those politicians, but on their actions, what they actually do. When they “fail,” especially when they “fail” despite the existence of alternatives that seem more sensible and more likely to succeed, it is more than likely that that “failure” was anything but a “failure.” There is little more successful than what is called “political failure” that helps to preserve the status quo.

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