Many conservative commentators and Republican politicians - spooked by Ted Cruz’s filibuster - have proposed the alternate strategy of doing nothing and letting Obamacare blow up. The thinking goes: Obamacare is a “train wreck” (in the words of one of its architects), the American people overwhelmingly hate it, its unpopularity is increasing over time and it will collapse under its own weight when it is fully implemented. Therefore, the Republicans should stand back, watch it crumble, and then pick up the electoral pieces when it does.
My problem with this line of thought is that, even if all of the underlying assumptions are true (and I believe that they are), why would the failure of Obamacare inspire American voters to vote for Republicans?
To see what I am getting at, let me rephrase my question: why would the Obamacare implosion cause voters to flock to a party that correctly foresaw the unfolding public policy disaster but chose not to fight its implementation because they thought they could cynically exploit the ensuing calamity for their own ends?
I wouldn’t want to vote for creeps like that either. Wouldn’t it be more likely the case that it would reinforce the notion, already strongly held by the ‘independents’ that “they’re all the same bunch of crooks”? How exactly do images of John McCain’s bipartisan backscratchin’ with Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer brand the GOP as the party opposed to Obamacare?
The advantage of spirited battles, even ones that fail - like Ted Cruz’s filibuster - is that it sharpens up and differentiates party positions: if D is for x and R is against x, and you are against x, you vote for R. If the Republicans fail to stop Obamacare, and Obamacare fails, and the GOP gains electorally from it; it will be because of the clarity Ted Cruz brought to the debate - and because he succeeded in overcoming the oppo research fed to Chris Wallace by shadowy GOP operatives, and myopic tactics inspired by cowardice, such as this.
And then there is this: what if it doesn’t collapse, but somehow simply lumbers on, being a drag on the American economy for the next century while at the same time remaining politically impossible to repeal thanks to a minority block of Americans who directly benefit from it?