There’s one great exception to the rule that it’s easier to destroy than create: big government programs. This truth is painfully evident in the effort to reform ObamaCare. Oh, notice the key word? “Repeal” isn’t even in the cards anymore, despite the House having passed six (un)Affordable Healthcare Act repeals under Barack Obama. Ah, if the GOP only had the power…
This inaction is being lamented by American Thinker’s Patricia McCarthy, who asks, “Why are most of the Republicans in Congress so spineless?” She then writes:
Obamacare was passed in 2009 without a single Republican vote. Everyone who paid attention to its details knew that it was designed to fail, miserably. Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber bragged about how getting it passed depended on the stupidity of the American people. But people would not be able to keep their own doctors as promised. No one's premiums went down by $2,500. They all went up and up and up. Those who are paying for it cannot afford to use it because the deductibles are too high. It is a monstrosity of catastrophic proportions. The insurance companies were on board; they knew they would reap billions of taxpayer dollars, and they have.… For eight years, Republicans have campaigned for office in order to repeal it. The House voted repeatedly to repeal it.
Now they have the House, the Senate, and the White House and suddenly cannot do what they have promised to do all these years despite having all the power to do it.
McCarthy points out that Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) betrayed the truth, explaining the inaction at a recent town hall with, “We did not expect Trump to win.” Supposedly, they weren’t ready to hit the ground running. Yet none of this explains why the House Republicans don’t just again pass one of the bills they created under Obama. All they need do is click “print.”
What does explain it is some profundity once expressed by a loved one: “It’s easy to be idealistic when you don’t have to live with your ideals.” It was painless to posture and pass the bills under Obama when a veto was assured. The GOP could then tell their constituents “Hey, we tried!” without being responsible for a law that would inevitably bring criticism.
It’s the same reason, mind you, that politicians secretly love having the courts settle divisive issues via unconstitutional rulings (e.g., Obergefell marriage opinion). Why make law and risk your seat when unelected judges can “make law” with impunity and you can still take credit for having “the right position”?
McCarthy, obviously, makes the common claim of GOP spinelessness; another oft-heard lament is that it’s the “stupid party.” Yet the Democrats are neither more intrepid nor more intelligent — just more backed up.
The Democrats could float a bill to nuke Texas and Utah, and one could almost imagine the media reporting, “Democrats Propose Generous Energy Transfers to GOP states.” The fake-news U.S. media have become their public-relations team.
In contrast, anything Republican-born is cast negatively. If the GOP votes even just to alter ObamaCare, we’ll hear it is “taking away Americans’ healthcare.” And any future negative outcomes, no matter the cause, with be laid at their feet. This process repeats itself with every single issue.
None of this is an excuse for not legislating rightly, but it’s naïve to think politicians aren’t primarily motivated by a desire to remain in office.
Yet a deeper reason for GOP inertia was noted by philosopher G.K. Chesterton long ago: “The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected.” At the heart of conservatism is an overriding desire to conserve — the status quo. This, ironically, was determined by yesterday’s liberals, whose changes forged today’s status quo.
Of course, the Left also controls the culture-shapers — not just the media but also academia and entertainment — which mold the cultural status quo. And with politics downstream of culture, once this is accomplished, corresponding legislation’s birth is just a matter of time.
Thus, a prerequisite for draining the government swamp is draining the cultural one. And this requires a complete change in mentality: We must stop being “conservative” and start, as the Founding Fathers were, being revolutionary.