Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory: How the GOP Will Squander the Obamacare Opportunity

My favorite NFL team (which shall remain nameless in this venue) routinely causes me to jump around my living room throwing stuff into the air like an agitated orangutan. The problem is not that they lack talent, or even good coaching. It’s more ephemeral than that. They have this mystical ability to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. Some other teams have a reputation for always having a puncher’s chance in any game, just because they seem to be gritty enough, week after week, to “find a way to win.” My team’s not like that. My team can be up three touchdowns heading into the fourth quarter, and that’s when I start to get the sinking feeling that a loss is on the way. They don’t snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat, or find a way to win: they do the opposite. They seem to thrive on finding new ways to blow a lead and rack up another loss.

Maybe that’s why I still have a soft spot in my heart for the GOP. They manage to pull the same sort of stunt year after year. Snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory.

obamacareNow, I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, and so I truly hope that what I’m about to suggest is wrong. I hope my sad-sack crew will surprise me and take a gift-interception to the house for once. The Democrats, led by rich, white liberals like Pelosi, Reid, and Obama, are in the process of fumbling the football on their own 3 yard line. Every time they try to pick it up again, they “doink” it with their toe instead and it keeps merrily bouncing around. It’s an NFL Follies classic for sure! This slow-motion comedy of errors is the excruciating roll-out of Obamacare. Picture me at this point jumping on my sofa like Tom Cruise on Oprah’s show, shouting at the television, to my guys on the other team: “Pick up the &*#@ ball! It’s right there! Just fall on it, for Pete’s sake!”

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And now for my not-so-bold prediction: The GOP is going to blow this opportunity. Again, as I said, I hope I get proven wrong. But here are some signs you can look for and know that I’m probably right. These are some ways the Republicans can turn the ball back over.

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1. Criticize Obamacare for being Too Ambitious.

He had a decent idea (maybe) but the President just reached too far. We’ve already seen premonitions of this ridiculous line of argumentation. During the 2012 campaign, when Romney might have taken a principled stand against a federal takeover of one sixth of the economy, he instead had nifty signs made that said, “Obamacare: Repeal and Replace.”

Dem-written socialism = Bad. Our version of socialism = Good.

Already, the media is baiting Republicans with this mantra: If not Obamacare, then what’s your plan?

Don’t get me wrong. I think the GOP needs a plan for healthcare reform, but we are hosed if that plan is sold as simply a more sensible option. If it’s sold as ratcheting Obamacare down a few reasonable notches, the game is over and the other guys won.

The reason to oppose Obamacare, or socialized medicine, or socialism of any kind, is primarily moral. Socialism is fundamentally immoral, and that is why we ought to abandon Obamacare. The fact that we seem to have precious few GOPers who understand that, much less can explain it, is part of the reason I’m guessing this opportunity will be lost.

2. Talk Numbers and Statistics

The numbers are all on the side of conservatives, no doubt. But trying to convince America by arguing the numbers is taking a knee in your own endzone. Obamacare really will blow up the debt and depress the economy, hurting the national GDP and blah-de-blah-de-blah, and 9 out of 10 Americans just changed the channel to The Walking Dead.

(Good news, Congressman Cantor: Your mom’s at least still watching your flowchart presentation of the bad economics of Obamacare. She doesn’t understand any of it but says she still thinks you’re terribly important!)

The underlying reason Obamacare is horrible for the economy is that God tends to frown on institutionalized idolatry and theft, and therefore often decides to blow it up.

3. Position Themselves as Better Managers of Government Programs

This is the argument that gets all giddy when poll numbers begin to show voters more likely to trust the Republicans’ handling of the economy over the Democrats. It’s the argument that is currently suggesting that Obamacare’s chief foible is colossal, ham-fisted incompetence: Let us Republicans take a crack at it, since, unlike Obama, we’ve spent the majority of our professional lives inventing legislation that tramples liberty: Give us pros a chance and send the rookie packing.

Incompetence is not the biggest reason why we should hate Obamacare, nor the biggest reason why it is failing, and will continue to hack people off. That biggest reason to hate it is that it represents a gigantic loss of freedom for all Americans.

Where are the statesmen, stout men with deep and resonant chests, the descendants of the signers of the Declaration, who actually love liberty enough to convincingly communicate some enthusiasm for it?

When modern Republicans give lip-service to standing for limited government, I hear in their voices the same level of allegiance that I can muster when I say, “I’m in favor of exercise.” (And if you could see me right now, you’d know how much the GOP just got burned!)

4. Pragmatically focus on 2014 and 2016.

The reason this would spell death for the GOP is that the radicals don’t really care. Oh, they’d prefer winning to losing, sure. But one of the features of the progressive Left is that they don’t mind small progression, over time. They have a long-range view in mind. They’ll let the GOP have its little touchdown dance, as long as the basic concept of socialism advances, even only a little bit. If the GOP uses the current fumbling of Obamacare as merely campaign commercial fodder, a way to retake the Senate, temporarily, and doesn’t use the whole fiasco as a teachable moment with the American public, we’re sunk.

Barack Obama has admitted lately that the federal government doesn’t do IT very well. But the reason to oppose Obamacare must run deeper than that.

We don’t oppose it because the government is horrible at it. We oppose it because we cherish freedom. We oppose it because we believe the Constitution ought to be followed. We oppose it because whoever controls your healthcare controls you. Period.

Many observers have pointed out that liberals don’t argue using facts. The facts are not on their side, so they ignore them, or else make up their own that suit them. Liberals instead argue using emotion, and seek an emotional response.

The main reason I think the GOP will squander this gift from the left is because it will fail to counter the emotional arguments of the socialists. If we had politicians on our side who really did value liberty more than life, you can bet your bottom dollar, they would be able to make the emotional argument in favor of freedom, independence, and God-given rights. As well as the emotional arguments against Government control over people; the slavery that results from unholy dependence; and, the righteousness of opposing tyranny.

I think, if I’m not greatly mistaken, such things have been done before, on these very shores. With a few notable exceptions, the GOP has none of this anymore. This is why they will lose, and so will America because of it. C’mon, Republicans. I am sincerely begging you to prove me wrong.

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