The Courage To Repeal

In 1990, Connecticut gubernatorial candidate Lowell P. Weiker, Jr. campaigned on a platform of solving the fiscal crisis plaguing that state without imposing a state tax on employment income to do so. The former Republican Senator – now a third party candidate – won the election…and promptly reversed himself after he was inaugurated.

The Connecticut General Assembly passed a broad-based income tax measure which Weiker signed into law, much to the significant dissatisfaction of the electorate who had put him there to forestall this very thing. So intense, in fact, was the popular discontent with this blatant slap in the face to the citizens of Connecticut that the General Assembly decided to pass a measure to repeal it. Adding insult to injury, Weiker vetoed it. It fell short of override by one vote, and remains the law of the land in Connecticut to this day. For this, Weiker received the Profile in Courage Award from the JFK Library Foundation in 1992. How lovely.

Two other notable recipients of this award are John McCain & Russ Feingold for their valuable contributions to the effective placement of a muzzle on free political speech by way of campaign finance reform.

See where I’m going with this? Don’t be surprised if the Democrats of the 111th Congress are the next recipients of this prestigious award for their unwavering dedication to the passage of health care for all in the face of massive opposition mounted by a bunch of ignorant peasants who obviously don’t know what’s best for themselves, their families, or their country.

Fine. Whatever. I’ll try to brace myself for that distasteful possibility, revolting though it may be. There is, however, something in which I’m far more interested at this point, and that is how those in the 112th Congress and beyond (hopefully comprised of a considerably greater number of proponents of individual freedom than at present) will go about the business of repealing this brazen power-grab in the face of what will no-doubt be massive opposition mounted by the mainstream press, the Democratic Party, Hollywood, academia, and a vast array of other left-leaning institutions and individuals.

Friends tell me that this health care legislation will never be repealed because no entitlement program ever gets repealed…ever. I’m not going to accept that. Not this time. Nor should anyone who fervently desires to see their children grow up in a country resembling anything akin to the one in which we grew up.

I’m pleased to have seen conviction on the part of Republicans in standing firmly against this health care legislation, and it gives me cause for hope. In 1935, 81 out of 102 House Republicans voted for the Social Security Act. Sixteen out of twenty-five Republican Senators voted for it. Regardless of how one feels about the merits or drawbacks of the Social Security program, one thing would seem clear – with that great of a percentage of the opposition party voting in favor of the legislation in the first place, it’s highly doubtful that any grassroots effort to repeal it would take hold before the populace has become dependent on it. The same would be true for Medicare, which passed in 1965 with 70 out of 140 House Republicans and 13 out of 32 Senate Republicans voting yes. The health care votes in the Senate on December 24th and in the House on March 21st constituted an entirely different ball of wax. Not only did no Republicans go for it, they vigorously opposed it, and that’s encouraging.

The days ahead will be interesting, to say the least. What we saw the House Democrats do on March 21st is cast what will prove to be career-ending votes for many of them. They had to know this, yet they did it anyway. I’m not convinced that their votes were based on any sense of principle – certainly not in the case of all of them. It’s no secret that they’ve wanted this legislation very badly for decades, and it’s apparent now that they absolutely were not going to let the window of opportunity close without getting it done, in spite of overwhelming public opposition, and regardless of the havoc such a law would wreak on the country.

At any rate, however one may characterize their motivations, at the end of the day, the Democrats were willing to go to the mat and effectively fall on their political swords to pass this extremely bad bill into law. If they could do it, then so can the Republicans, and I frankly expect no less of them when the window of opportunity to repeal it opens for them. A lot can happen between now and 2014 (when the full implementation of this law kicks in) to put the Republicans solidly back in power in Washington, provided the voting public thinks they’re up to the task. In the meantime, they must not go wobbly.  If they truly believe this bill is bad for the country, then they should vote to repeal it in its entirety the first chance they get, regardless of whatever fears they may have about how they’ll be perceived. Courage of convictions is what is going to be needed, and nothing short of it will do.

The primary season is the time to scrutinize the Republican candidates for office, and to determine who’s going to have the stomach for the fight, and who is not. While I intend to support and vote for Republicans (RINO or otherwise) who manage to get past the primaries into the general election, I do not intend to support or vote for candidates at the primary level who don’t demonstrate a fire in the belly to completely dismantle what the Democrats in the 111th Congress have wrought.

Let them have their lousy Profile in Courage Award if it comes to that.  We have considerably bigger fish to fry, and if the Republicans in the next Congress (or any future Congress who takes up a bill to repeal this law) start to believe they’ll lose subsequent elections over voting to repeal, then fine.  So be it.  Let them take a lesson from the Democrats and decide right now that they don’t care if they lose – because it’s just that important.  This health care law must be repealed – at all political costs if necessary.  It’s not an understatement to say the future of the nation depends on it.