Sunday, 23 January 2011

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Trying to appear to be delivering on a promise Over at National Review I learn that Eric Cantor insists that Republicans will do "everything [they] can to delay and defund" health care reform because they are "about trying to deliver on our commitment, to make sure that the Obamacare bill does not take full hold and effect." Why doesn't he want it to take full effect? Because he knows that entitlement programs tend to be wildly popular. The logic is simple: if what Michele Bachmann calls "the crown jewel of socialism" succeeds, many of those previously uninsured voters will never vote Republican again. We know this. They know this. The base that Obama created in 2008 is far larger than the one the Republicans used to win the House in 2010 and they know that the 2012 demographics will look more like 2008 than 2010. The Republican's only option is to prevent Obama's base from further expanding, and the most effective way to do that is to delay the implementation of health care reform. Except they can't do that. The Senate will shoot them down. The President will veto them. So what can they do? They can spend the next two years "trying to deliver on [their] commitment," because as John Boehner said, "repeal means keeping a promise." Except it doesn't. What repeal actually means is creating and sustaining the appearance of trying to keep a promise. Failure to do so will shrink their newly established base and leave them as vulnerable in 2012 as they proved to be in 2008. Expect to see quite a bit of appearing to be trying to deliver on an undeliverable promise in the next few years.

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