Grassroots pressure from conservatives has induced the House Republican leadership to permit a vote on a continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare. That is excellent news.
For spearheading the move to defund the (Not Remotely) Affordable Care Act, intrepid Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) have been scalded by the usual ruling class crowd of GOP establishment leaders and Obama administration officials. Yet public resistance to a law the public has never liked – and about which the public grows increasingly anxious as its deleterious consequences and exploding costs begin to materialize – has forced leadership’s hand even as it demonstrates, yet again, the divide between the Beltway and the country.
The objections to the defunding strategy are as unconvincing as they are feckless. Naysayers argue that President Obama will never sign a bill to fund government operations that slashes his signature achievement. Thus, the argument goes, defunding can only result in a government shutdown for which, thanks to Obama’s slavish media, Republicans will be blamed. Also trotted out, of course, is the bromide the GOP establishment chants to rationalize its supine posture whenever opportunities arise to oppose Obama’s hard Left agenda: “We only control one-half of one-third of the government, so we cannot dictate policy.”
Resistance is futile, in other words, so why resist at all? It’s an ironic argument since it seems Republican leadership only resists when doing so is futile, when the resistance is token. Thus the prior votes to repeal Obamacare, all forty of them, taken in the comfortable knowledge that they had no chance of succeeding – just going through the motions in faux fulfillment of a commitment to the base to work tirelessly to undo the law. But when something might not be futile – when it could actually work, and therefore entails hard work and risk – we generally find leadership in folderoo mode, babbling its one-half-of-one-third mantra.