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Defund Obamacare Republicans vs Anti-Defund Republicans

Both Sides Are Right on Key Points

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Defund Obamacare Republicans vs Anti-Defund Republicans
Mark Wilson - Getty Images News
The "Defund Obamacare" movement is a plan led by US Senator Ted Cruz that would present a bill to continuing funding the government as it runs out of money once again. The basic set-up is this: the US House of Representatives passed a bill that prioritizes Obamcare out of existence. Ted Cruz wants the Senate to take up that bill, but he also wants to prevent the Democrats from simply re-instating the funding and refusing debate and amendments from the conservative side. The Senate Democrats also want to avoid placing their members in a bind by having to vote on amendments that will make them look bad ahead of an upcoming election. Instead, the US Senate wants to quickly pass the bill with minimal changes and hash out the remaining details behind closed doors with the House of Representatives. Now, the only votes they are forced to take are on bi-partisan measures. Both the defund and anti-defund factions of the GOP make some valid points. Below are two from each side. (Though those I call the "anti-defunders" here technically support the defund Obamacare bill, they don't believe takingit to the next level. Instead, it's more of a base-pleasing maneuver.)

Anti-Defund Argument: GOP Would Be Blamed for a Government Shut-down

One fear of the anti-defund side is that a government shutdown would be blamed on Republicans. This is an easy one because everything is always blames on Republicans. (Our refusal to fight that narrative and instead remain in the fetal position as we get whacked over the head doesn't help fight this problem, of course.) Technically, a shutdown would be equal parts blame: President Obama would be to blame for refusing to allow funding absent Obamcare, and the GOP would be to blame for refusing funding with it. But we don't live in a technical world. We live in one where the totally-fair-and-unbiased media drives the narrative. As we all know, that carefully crafted one would blame the Republicans for a shutdown. In that sense, the anti-defund side has a point. If the government were to shut down, the Republicans would be blamed. But most people realize - even the pro-defund side - that the government rarely ever shuts down. And if it does, it doesn't for very long. There is always a "grand bargain" or some compromise. And by compromise, I mean: Republicans give in and Democrats get everything.

Pro-Defund Argument: Be Aggressive and Increase Negotiating Power

One of the tactics of the liberal politicians is to toss out the most insanely liberal bill possible and negotiate from there. They ask for far more than they want or expect to get and then they "compromise" with the Republicans to tone it down to what they actually wanted in the first place. The GOP negotiates in the opposite manner. They start with what they decide is a reasonably bi-partisan bill and then negotiate to a center-left bill. I've never accused the GOP of being strategically smart, and the anti-defund side shows they have absolutely no creativity in the negotiation department.

When Obama demanded income tax increases on those making $250,000 or more, it was a number opposed by members of his own party, including far-left US Senator Chuck Schumer from New York. Schumer opposed the $250,000 mark, but he didn't do it loudly. He didn't blast Obama and have his staffers leak negative attacks to the press. Why? Because he knew that Obama really wanted something closer to $400,000. The GOP was hanging around the $1M range for any tax increases at all. At the end of the day, Obama was the "great compromiser" and agreed to increasing taxation at just the $400,000 threshold. See, isn't he reasonable? Except that is what he (and Chuck Schumer) wanted all along. What did the GOP get for their compromise? Taken.

Here, Ted Cruz and friends are taking control of the debate. Yes, Obamacare will be funded at the end of the day. But isn't it better to start negotiating from a stance of refusing to fund Obamacare (and thus the government) and compromise from there rather than to start by giving the Democrats everything you know they will require, and compromise from that point? That's kind of the bigger point here. No, Obamacare wasn't going to get defunded. But perhaps with a little more help the GOP would have had more negotiating power. Maybe the "oh-Obamacare-is-splendid" liberals in the US Senate might even have to vote against having to be covered by the law they love.

Anti-Defund Argument: Bill Will Fail Tragically Alone

Obamacare is a tropical depression slowly turning into a hurricane. Once fully implemented and everyone finally finds out what is in the bill, we anticipate it will be a category 5. This is the argument being made by the anti-defunders. We don't need to defund or obstruct the bill because that only gives the opposition a target (GOP's fault!) for when it inevitably does fail. The bill will fail, so just ride it out.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has already declared the bill will cost (at least) double what we were told it would. Tens of millions of people will remain uninsured. Higher insurance premiums have already begun to pour in thanks to unnecessary over-the-top mandates to cover normal and expected expenditures. The state-run Obamacare exchanges have only been able to function by excluding many hospitals and healthcare facilities from their participation lists. So no, you can't keep your doctor. Employers have been forced to create a part-time employee economy in order to avoid the cumbersome taxes of Obamacare. People are finding out they can't keep the coverage they had as it has become regulated out of existence. Worse yet, most of the provisions and resulting consequences haven't even taken effect yet.

Pro-Defund Argument: Worst Bill in History Publicly Eviscerated

Yes, funding for Obamacare will happen until there is a new President and a new US Senate to change that. Even if it was defunded does anyone believe that the federal government would stop implementing it? If you think they hold the law in high regard, I'll refer you to our unenforced federal laws on immigration and drug laws. But why pass up on the opportunity to publicly dismantle what is perhaps the least popular law in decades? Double-digit disapproval has accompanied the law since before it passed, and we think it's a bad idea to keep reminding the public about this nasty beast? When Rand Paul filibustered Obama's spying, it was more than about drones. Likewise, the defund movement is more than a pointless exercise trying to stop Obamacare from continuing. For too long the GOP has been filled with "nice guys" who want to "compromise" with the other side whose idea of compromising is: "Republicans give us what we want." Maybe it's just nice to have conservatives who will actually fight back every once in a while. If you have the opportunity, why not take it?
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