No matter what national affairs writers for Yahoo! may say, the GOP’s real dilemma is not appearing “to be a respectable party capable of governing while also providing political shelter for the highly motivated, though vocally disruptive, protest wing of the party associated with the Tea Party movement,”* it’s how to go about repealing an unpopular piece of legislation with a number of popular and several beneficial components.
Should they just repeal the whole thing and start over (as the American people wanted) or once it’s become established law, repeal only those most egregious provisions (the better part of the bill) and leave in place the popular and beneficial reforms?
While driving my Dad to the airport today (he was in town for a meeting), I had a brainstorm: the GOP should pursue a policy of “Repeal and Reform.” As soon as Speaker Boehner takes the gavel next January, his fellows in the majority should introduce a bill to repeal all but a few provisions of the recently enacted health care bill and include in the package a number of health care reforms that Republicans have long advocated (and have put forward in the current debate, only to have the MSM and Democrats pretend they don’t exist).
Personally, I believe Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan should do it, but I am secretly hoping he’ll make a last minute decision to run for the Senate. If he could win in 2008 with 64% in a district Obama carried by 51%, in a Republican year, he could win in a state where John Kerry barely mustered a majority in 2004.
That digression aside, it seems I’m not the only one to favor such a plan of repeal and reform. When I got home, I caught David Freddoso’s piece in the Washington Examiner: ‘Repeal’ is Not Enough:
When President Obama signs his signature health care bill into law a few hours from now, he will be trading a dysfunctional and excessively costly health insurance system that is crippling the economy for an even more dysfunctional and even more costly system that goes further to encourage rent-seeking by the drug and insurance industries that wrote and backed it.
Why in the world would Republicans promise to return from a horrible system to one that is only really, really bad? The correct answer is not just repeal, but real reform. Yes, any serious reforms will gut the bill that Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi just rammed through the House of Representatives, but not every line of the 2,000-plus page bill is bad. Some of Obama’s changes, like the exchanges and the weakening of the employer-based system, could be good if they are taken out of the context of the larger bill.
*If this national affairs writer had any sense of history, he would realize that the dilemma he describes is nothing new. Parties have long had to find a way to balance their a commitment to governing with the passion of their base.