Republican voters are excited about the prospects of a GOP-controlled Senate, but some have expressed rightful skepticism over whether anything will really change. The messages are unquestionably mixed, especially when it comes to the party’s approach to Obamacare. While they’ve raised the rhetoric in recent days, it’s hard not to see this as political maneuvering.
Consider Mitch McConnell. If the GOP wins on the 4th, he would theoretically become Senate majority leader. That’s assuming he wins his race as well. But the Kentucky senator has waffled when it comes to his Obamacare messaging. When asked Tuesday about repealing the law, McConnell seemed discouraged about their chances. “It would take 60 votes in the Senate, and no one thinks we’re going to have 60 Republicans,” he said. “And it would take a presidential signature. And no one thinks we’re going to get that.”
McConnell was immediately set upon by conservatives who expected to see some major changes with Republicans in full control of Congress. For an American public thirsty for a change of direction, McConnell’s words seemed to hammer home one of the biggest midterm fears: regardless of who wins, things are going to stay the same.
A Change in Tone
On Thursday, McConnell seemed to have opened his eyes to greater possibilities. His spokesman told the Washington Examiner that the senator would be willing to try appealing the law with a simple majority in January. They might be able to pull that off through a process known as “reconciliation,” though they will face stern opposition. Reconciliation is supposed to be used for strict budget-related items only. An attempt to repeal Obamacare through this process could be shut down by Vice President Joe Biden.
I don’t think they’re going to be able to do it. I don’t think the majority of voters think they’ll be able to do it. And I don’t think it’s essential that they succeed in repealing the law. What matters is that they make the effort. I think that if they show up to work, provide the country with a clear, thoughtful alternative to the Affordable Healthcare Act, and do everything in their power to push it through the legislative process, conservatives will be satisfied.
Why? Because the next two years are going to set the stage for our next president. If the Republicans can show that they have an outline for the next great stage of America – blocked only by an obstructionist Democrat in the White House – they can make it a lot easier for the 2016 GOP candidate. All they’ll need is someone willing to put his signature to all the forward-thinking bills they’ve passed.
Overturning Obamacare won’t be easy, and it probably won’t be done in the next two years. But if Republicans maintain a single-minded focus on getting this abomination of a healthcare law off the books, it can be done eventually. Unfortunately, it so often happens that these laws just stay around and fester until they become so entrenched that no one cares to repeal them anymore. That’s what can’t be allowed to happen, and that’s why we need to see strong Republican action in the meantime.