The Tea Party and its sympathizers have pushed ideological purity to an extreme in the Republican Party, especially the House. Last year’s willingness to trash the country’s credit rating rather than raise the debt ceiling was Exhibit A. Exhibit B may be a decision to oppose absolutely every aspect of the Affordable Care Act.
As Politico reports, a group of right-wingers are pushing Speaker John Boehner to reject so-called ObamaCare in its entirety, including popular provisions such as allowing parents to keep their kids on their insurance until age 26, prohibiting discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, and closing the Medicare drug benefit’s donut hole.
From a Tea Party standpoint, the Affordable Care Act must look like a Communist plot, but in fact it is a fairly moderate piece of legislation that excludes things like single-payer and even a government run insurance scheme.
So here’s an idea for Democrats: propose all sorts of measures, especially those that Republicans have traditionally agreed with. Since there’s such a strong knee jerk response to any Democrat’s ideas, it seems like a pretty good way to paint the GOP into a corner. Bill Clinton actually did a version of this, taking credit for arguably Republican ideas such as welfare reform. (He balanced the budget, too.)
With the way the Tea Party has set itself up, Obama doesn’t need to be nearly so clever as Clinton. He just has to propose a set of right-of-center ideas and see the GOP marginalize itself over the next few years.