A practical agenda for 100 percent repeal

And talking about rolling back liberalism instead of just slowing its advance, this evening in the House of Representatives Steve King, R-Iowa, confidently laid out a step by step program for the 100 percent repeal of Obamacare (a cause he earlier invoked in an April 5 column). I only turned it on in the middle and am constructing this from what I heard, but it seems to consist of the following. A Republican majority House is elected in 2010, which, combined with a strong Republican minority in the Senate, blocks the funding for the implementation of Obamacare. (Or perhaps the Republican House does this without the help of Senate Republicans, since all spending bills must originate in the House.) This is followed by the election of a Republican majority House and Senate and a Republican president in 2012. Then in January or February 2013, the Republican Congress passes, and the Republican president signs, the total repeal of Obamacare. And all this happens before Obamacare would even have taken full effect in 2014.

This is the way Republicans need to talk.

Now as readers know I frown on triumphalist fantasies of the type that establishment conservative columnists frequently indulge, but King’s scenario brings one so vividly to mind that I will allow myself to express it. Imagine that it is January 20, 2013. The new, Republican president has just taken his oath of office (and Chief Justice Roberts has not stumbled over the words this time) and is giving his inaugural address to a crowd in attendance that includes overpowering Republican House and Senate majorities that were sworn in on January 3. Ex-president, ex-messiah, ex-god king Obama is sitting behind the new president, listening to him describe how the first business of his administration will be to dismantle and drop into the dustbin of history Obama’s—and the American left’s—greatest achievement.

* * *

Even as I wrote the above, I could hear in my ears the criticisms of those who say that this scenario involves the glorious accession to power of the same Republicans whose liberal leaning yoke we’ve been striving to throw off, and thus the certainty that we will not throw off liberalism. What, then, is the alternative? To wish that Obamacare not be overturned? To allow ourselves to come under its yoke? That I cannot do. We are not gods, but men. We cannot battle and defeat all possible evils at once. We must deal with the evil or set of evils that is most threatening at this moment. Confronted by a terrible evil such as Obamacare, we must wish and work for its defeat, not for its victory. Beyond that—to some idea that the great good of defeating Obamacare may produce worse evils which we should oppose instead of opposing the actual evil of Obamacare—my limited store of understanding cannot go.

- end of initial entry -

Ferg writes:

I know it sounds good, but it won’t float. We can not do it with a majority Senate, the Dems will filibuster any repeal effort. Can we get a sixty percent Republican Senate? Will all the Republicans like Snowe and company vote for repeal? If not, there goes the sixty percent anyway, which I just cannot see us attaining. Sorry to be a wet blanket, but although I like the talk, somebody needs to get very innovative to make this work, and I just do not see how it can, barring a miracle. Sixty percent is very tough to get, especially for Republicans. Fifty five, which I can see, just won’t get it done.

Kristor writes:

Are we not men? Are we not women? How can we live with ourselves, and not aim for the total defeat of liberalism? This is a historic opportunity. Sure, it may take a couple election cycles. But if we announce our defeat before the battle is truly joined, we will be defeated, and we will deserve our defeat. Our enemy is false, and weak, however strong he seems. Let us simply press forward with the truth, and see how the battle falls out.

April 16, 11:40 a.m.

Richard W. writes:

Ferg writes:

I know it sounds good, but it won’t float. We can not do it with a majority Senate, the Dems will filibuster any repeal effort.

That’s a valid point, but we need to remember that the filibuster is not a Constitutional requirement but merely a rule of the Senate. The rules of the Senate are set at the start of each term, by a simple majority vote.

Thus, if we elect Republicans in 2010 and 2012 with the explicit charge to repeal Obamacare, and they are serious about this charge, they will not permit rules for that term that includes the filibuster.

The filibuster, I would argue, has still done more harm than good for conservatives over the last few decades. Think of the many decent Bush nominees who were never seated, especially judges.

Without a filibuster we might have the opportunity to appoint one or two more strong conservative justices. Much of the liberal agenda is blatantly unconstitutional. Our best bet for repeal is with a future Court, composed of justices who follow the original intent, declaring much of the post-FDR federal state unconstitutional.

The libs understand this well, and if a Republican were ever to get the chance to replace a strong liberal, like Ginsberg, with a constitutionalist conservative, they would use every means possible to prevent it. Especially the filibuster.

It seems obvious to me that no Congress will ever repeal most of the socialist programs. The media demagoguery would be so loud and shrill that few representatives could stand it. Imagine the same vitriol and hatred poured out on the Tea Party directed at the average Republican senator. The would wilt like week old lettuce.

If we really want to return America to a nation of free markets and limited government than the only realistic method is through the Supreme Court. And therefore our conservative U.S. senators should be encouraged to dump the filibuster rule which is the main impediment to this in the next term they are in the majority, especially if there is a Republican President in the oval office.

LA replies:

That’s good thinking.

Also, perhaps fancifully, how about this: since the repeal of Obamacare will have the effect of reducing the budget, the Republicans declare that the repeal bill is a reconciliation bill only requiring 51 votes. Since the Dems carried out a revolution by such underhanded means, it may be necessary and justified to use the same means to undo the revolution.

Richard Hoste writes:

Blankley is living in a fantasy world. The common people supposedly yearning for freedom reject every single spending cut. There isn’t the will to roll back anything, much less everything liberals have done since FDR. Any politician who gets up there and calls for taking spending seriously will find 80% of the country opposed.

LA replies:

Richad Hoste is the writer for Alternative Right who has said that the equivalent of a 9/11 attack once every year or two would be no more damaging to the country than the usual traffic fatalities, and therefore the country should not bother defending itself from terrorism. Yet Hoste thinks that Tony Blankley lives in a fantasy world.

Ferg writes:

Kristor writes:

Are we not men? Are we not women? How can we live with ourselves, and not aim for the total defeat of liberalism? This is a historic opportunity.

Are we men? I don’t know any more. Are we women? If so, women historically like big government.

Is this an historic opportunity? Probably. But after fifty years of activism in politics I have become discouraged about the will of conservatives to run with the ball when they have the chance. I was a guest in Washington for the swearing in of the new Congress in January of 1995. It was the high point of my political life. The disappointments that followed that week have left me feeling that it has all been a pointless waste of time. So, I will bow out of this discussion and all others like it, because I am too likely to take the part of a bitter old man who dumps on every idea that comes along. I truly hope your optimism and that of Mr. Auster are more than justified, and that I am just an old grouch. The truth is I weep for my country and the West, and deeply regret not having done a better job of protecting them when I had the chance.

Charles T. writes:

I am with Kristor. Declaring defeat is not an option. I am not thinking primariy of my own welfare, but that of my children and their children.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 16, 2010 12:56 AM | Send

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