On FOX News, Charles Krauthammer suggests the Republicans should pass a symbolic repeal, but shouldn’t attempt to defund ObamaCare (for video, check out The Right Scoop). His theory goes something like this: if the Republicans defund ObamaCare, then they’ll be blamed for its failure. If they fund it instead, then it will still flop and opposition will be even greater but Democrats won’t be able to blame Republicans for ObamaCare’s failure. Except, they will. Democrats will find a way to blame Republicans regardless of what they do; they’re constantly blaming Republicans for their failures, and it has traditionally been an effective tactic.
With the blame game dynamics off the table, there is only one question remaining. Is it worth funding ObamaCare in order to prove the legislation’s inherent flaws? Short answer, NO. Let’s assume Krauthammer’s plan works. The Republicans prove their point in a “we threw a bloody person in a shark tank and he got eaten” kind of way and a few more people join the opposition to ObamaCare. The strategy might make some sense if a majority currently approved of the health care takeover, but they don’t. The American people, in general, don’t need convincing. On the whole, we already recognize ObamaCare is terrible legislation—public support for the bill has fallen consistently and is still falling. The end result of Krauthammer’s gamble would be two-fold. A few people might move from the minority that supports ObamaCare to the majority that opposes it; a lot of people would be furious with the newly elected Republicans for shattering their campaign platform with a legislative sledgehammer.
As a purely political matter, there’s no way the GOP could refuse to defund it. It would be taken as proof that Republicans have already lost their nerve; the base would be equal parts crushed and enraged, to the point where you probably would start hearing chatter about a third party in earnest. Like it or not, Republicans went all in on killing ObamaCare and now they’re forced to take every opportunity to undermine it, even if letting it get up and running for the purpose of showing the public how it doesn’t work might (but probably wouldn’t) make repeal easier.
Finally, Krauthammer’s theory lacks any precedent. Can anyone name a regulatory agency that has become easier to repeal over time? Unlike fine wines, bureaucracy doesn’t get better with age; it simply gets more entrenched. For once, Republicans need to learn something from their Liberal counterparts: the goal is repeal, and we need to work towards that goal every day at every opportunity until ObamaCare is obliterated. The left spent decades working towards ObamaCare, failing numerous times along the way. Hopefully it won’t take nearly as long to roll back their “progress.”