Ted Cruz has taken center stage in the effort to strip funding from Obamacare, but it is Utah senator Mike Lee who has for months now masterminded the defunding strategy behind the scenes. I write about Lee’s role in the current drama on the homepage:
The wheels of the defunding effort began to turn shortly after the Obama administration announced, on July 2, that it would delay the law’s employer mandate. . . . “The fact that the president himself has said, ‘This law is not ready to be implemented as written,’ gives us a lot more momentum and allows us to make a very serious case for defunding,” he says.
That is the case Lee made in early July, when he put in personal calls to influential talk-radio hosts Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Laura Ingraham to ask for their support. His pitch to the would-be emissaries, according to a Lee aide, was, “This is our last, best chance to do something to protect the country from Obamacare before it is fully implemented.” He often asks, rhetorically, when an entitlement program has been rolled back after its implementation. Since then, the talk-radio giants have spread the gospel, though their vocal support has failed to elicit the broad-based popular uprising that Cruz and Lee had hoped for.
Lee, who rode to office in 2010 on a wave of opposition to Obamacare, has helped to create an alterative power center within the Republican party. Power and politics are in his blood: His father, Rex Lee, served as Reagan’s soliciter general, and two of his cousins, Mark and Tom Udall, are Democratic senators. More here.