Often, in the wake of events like this we are told that there is a tension between the ‘reasonable’ moderate course and what the true believers want. And people can disagree about such things and yet share the same goals. Not so with Obamacare: repeal is both what the base wants to hear and the best ‘reasonable’ message. It provides a unifying theme that can tie together the entire GOP message for November and beyond, and it is an argument that can be made in the most mellifluous and reasonable terms.
With that in mind, I offer the following as a template narrative that could be used by ANY Republican candidate for Federal Office, be they mainly a moderate, libertarian or social conservative. I am sure it can be made pithier, and fine tuned, but I think it shows how ‘reasonable’ and ‘moderate’ the repeal message actually is.
“…And I wanted to offer you a few thoughts about the matter of Healthcare Reform. As you know, the Democrats in Congress rammed through their version of Healthcare Reform earlier this week/month/year, doing so against the express wishes of the American people. I’ve heard from you about it – heard how some of you are worried, scared or apprehensive and angry. Worried about what is going to happen to your health insurance; scared about what the spectacle of bullying and bribery it took to pass this bill means for our country; apprehensive about the future and angry – yes angry – that Congressman XXXXX ignored your calls and faxes and emails telling him/her not to vote for the bill.
Understand this: the Republican Party has heard you. That is why we pledge ourselves to one simple plan: repeal. We will repeal this bill when we retake Congress in the forthcoming elections. Repeal will be the first order of business, the first thing we do. A pressing of the reset button and the whole, rotten mess will go away. Along with every shabby giveaway and special deal that was inserted into the bill to buy off various Congressmen and interest groups. We’ll repeal it all, and then: just like you’ve told us you want us to, we’ll start again.
Before we talk about starting again, I need to mention a couple of things about what repeal could mean. As you know, the Democrats in Congress twisted the rules and procedures to force this thing through. They did that for two reasons: the first was that it is hard in this country to pass an unpopular law, the second is that they think that the next Republican Congress, the Congress to be elected with your help this Fall, will shrink from the task of undoing it. They are wrong. Upfront I want you to know, that in pledging ourselves to repeal this Bill we will, if necessary, use every procedural device available to us and every maneuver the Democrats used. They will not stop us from repealing this Bill.
And then, when we have repealed this Bill, we will begin at the beginning. Everyone knows there are problems in our Healthcare System and we intend to fix them. We will sit down with the President and start again and give him the opportunity to fulfil the election promises he made: for an answer that does not raise taxes and that does not force anyone to buy a policy they don’t want. For a dialogue that is open and broadcast on C-SPAN. Then, together, we can proceed with a real fix to our Healthcare system that draws on all the best ideas, not ideological prejudices.”
I know some might balk at that final paragraph, but I think it is important as it puts the emphasis onto Obama’s broken promises without shouting about them. And trust me, there are an awful lot of people for whom that betrayal has come as a shock.
A final note on this. Don’t fret the veto. The next task for us is to win the midterms and pass a repeal bill that has the popular support of the American people. If Obama chooses to veto it, well then we repeat the same reasonable sounding pleas for commonsense, all the way to the 2012 election and defeat him on this issue.