McConnell AP Story: ObamaCare Repeal Alarms Flare Again - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
McConnell AP Story: ObamaCare Repeal Alarms Flare Again


Last night, this story appeared on the AP.

The headline: GOP leader hopes to work with Obama on some issues

The reporter quoted Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate GOP Leader who was at his home in Louisville, Kentucky, as saying, among other things, this:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate’s top Republican says President Barack Obama and a more-Republican Congress could join to pass laws on trade and spending policy and make changes to the health care overhaul if the administration listens to voters on Election Day.

Then, further down, the story has these two paragraphs below. I have highlighted the interesting parts in bold print:

Speaking from his home in Louisville, Ky., McConnell said there are several areas of agreement that already exist between congressional Republicans and Obama that, theoretically, could pass quickly.

Those issues, he said, include an arcane tax reporting law on businesses that’s part of the unpopular health care overhaul. Even Obama wants the so-called 1099 provision changed so that businesses are not overburdened with paperwork.

What’s missing here?

Earlier in the day, we had a post about a report that Senator Bob Corker, the Tennessee Republican, had told a group of high-dollar GOP donors the following:

The junior senator from Tennessee told the gathering of donors not to worry about the incoming class of “crazier Republicans” because the majority of Senate Republicans, especially minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), had no intention of repealing the president’s health care bill. They instead planned to fix only the “bad parts” of the law, Corker reportedly told the group.

Senator McConnell’s office quickly sent us a denial, which we noted in a second post to be found here.

Then, last evening, the story took an interesting turn with the statement from Senator McConnell to the AP.

It gave the clear impression that the Senator, precisely as Senator Corker had been quoted, was going to fix the “bad parts” of ObamaCare — instead of pushing for outright repeal.

Clearly there is a considerable difference between repealing one section of ObamaCare — Section 1099 in this instance — and repealing the entire bill.

After some back and forth between The American Spectator and Senator McConnell’s office, the Senator himself was reached and this clarifying statement was issued:

While we were unable to block the Democrats from passing the health spending bill — the single worst piece of legislation that’s passed since I’ve been in the Senate — the Republican leadership in the House and Senate is committed to its repeal. While Democrats will filibuster our efforts, and if we’re successful the President will veto, I believe we should give them that opportunity. We should vote, again, for repeal. Americans have spoken out, loud and clear, and we heard them. Repeal is part of the Pledge to America, and the Republican leadership is united in that effort.

The problem with the McConnell statement to the Associated Press is not a small detail. It goes to the very heart of the issue.

There is no way on earth to achieve the conservative goal of small government, of limited government, if in fact ideological surrender is the end result of so-called “bipartisanship.”

To agree, in the name of “bipartisanship,” with President Obama that this, that, or the other specific section of ObamaCare should be repealed winds up inevitably giving the President the upper hand. Simply put: this White House will no sooner have signed off on a repeal of the aforementioned Section 1099 when it will be claiming compromise was had and the other 99% of the bill would only be repealed by — to borrow the phrase attributed to Senator Corker and which he now denies saying — the “crazier Republicans.”

Result? The bulk of ObamaCare will then be allowed to stand, politically untouchable.

As with the stimulus, Democrats must have 100% complete ownership of ObamaCare. Either it’s repealed in toto — or it is left to stand untouched as the monstrosity it is. If the GOP falls for any “bipartisanship” they will simply remove the intense pressure Democrats are already feeling on the issue — a pressure that is in the process of losing them the House and possibly the Senate.

Which is why, all last evening, alarm bells began to ring in conservative circles as Senator McConnell’s remarks to the AP made the rounds.

With the statement formally issued by McConnell last night, it appears this issue is — with considerable uneasiness — put to momentary rest for the next 12 days in the run-up to the election.

But it is very safe to safe McConnell and his colleagues in both the Senate and the House will be watched carefully for the first sign that their actions are even remotely hinting at accepting anything less than complete and total repeal of ObamaCare.

And if they can’t get a repeal past a presidential veto?

Then ObamaCare and its consequences will continue to sit as is — and Democrats will continue to reap the political liabilities they themselves created.

And, as Ronald Reagan once said when asked his goal in handling Cold War strategy he replied simply: “We win. They lose.”

Too much water has gone over the Big Government dam for conservatives to do anything other than follow Reagan’s strategy. Simply put:

Winning is a total repeal of ObamaCare. All at once.

Losing is anything less.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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