Monday, May 27, 2013

Republicans who won't fight to win and the Democrats who love fighting them

A question I'm asked frequently these days is why Republican officials in Kentucky aren't publicly coming out in support of our legal efforts to shut down ObamaCare here. My best answer so far, really, has been that I'm not the one to ask about that.

I'm not giving that answer anymore.

The truth is our Republican establishment would rather lose on political gamesmanship than win on issues.

Unfortunately, certain Republican leaders like to talk a good game about fighting "tooth and nail" against Democrats but never seem willing to actually do enough to beat them in a substantial or lasting way, if at all.

TARP bailouts. Education "reform." Every debt ceiling "battle" in recent memory. "Sequester" spending increases. "Fiscal cliff" tax increases. Making Obama a "one term president."

We might as well go ahead and add ObamaCare to that list if we are going to do little more than make floor speeches against it and cast symbolic votes for repeal.

If stopping ObamaCare is really a top priority -- and it should be -- nothing should be off the table in terms of defeating it. If cutting off funding means shutting down the government until Democrats relent, any time in the last two years would have worked better than sitting back and hoping to use it as a campaign issue in the 2012 elections. Instead, we continue even now to fund the train wreck.

Worse, Sen. Mitch McConnell seems content to try this approach again in 2014 despite last year's failure. He could possibly have enough money for that to work for him in his election, but playing politics with our health care system now does little to nothing for more than a few individual insiders, Republicans as a group or the nation as a whole.

Candidates who advocate for real free market reforms in health care in 2014 must not only run through establishment Democrats who pretend to want to dismantle crony capitalism, but they will first have to contend with establishment Republican types playing exactly the same game.

Carrying on with this battle along the only path to success is a winner politically for the tea party made possible -- once again -- by absurd intransigence among the ranks of those following the political counsel of the senior Senator from Kentucky.