Repealing Obamacare Is Not ‘Symbolic,’ It’s a Constitutional Duty

Even conservative talk-radio hosts and, this morning, the Wall Street Journal seem to have fallen for the line that the vote to repeal Obamacare, expected tomorrow in the House of Representatives, is “symbolic.” Apparently, because Sen. Harry Reid is unlikely to allow a vote in the Senate, and the president would veto repeal if it managed to beat the odds and get to his desk, the whole exercise is a waste of time.

How the tables have turned! Back when Nancy Pelosi was speaker, the legacy media bemoaned the fact (as of last October) that the House had passed 420 bills that the Senate had not taken up. Journalists would never have dared label these bills “symbolic.” Rather, the problem was a “gap in productivity” between an energetic and  progressive people’s chamber and the Jurassic Senate, where archaic rules empowered a rump to block critical agenda items.

Today, a rambunctious and reckless Tea-Party–fuelled House majority is threatening to upset last year’s singular legislative achievement. Thank Providence the Senate is likely to spare the president embarrassment by preventing the repeal bill from arriving at his desk!

Well, we will see what happens. Even if the House bill does not reach the Senate floor for debate, the House’s repeal is important for two reasons.

First, it demonstrates that the House majority’s commitment to the Constitution is not limited to reciting it on the first day of the session. The Constitution divides the federal government into three branches, and the legislature further into two chambers, each body with a sworn duty to repeal legislation that it believes is unconstitutional — notwithstanding the beliefs of the other chamber or the president.

Second, it puts the Republicans on the record. Moving beyong talking points to actually voting is no small achievement, especially because the Republican alternative to Obamacare in the “Pledge to America” is little more than a mish-mash of crowd-pleasing sound bites — “Obamacare-lite,” if you will. Virtually no corporate interest in the health sector is agitating for repeal. (Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a Johnny-come-lately to the fight.) Instead, the conservative and libertarian grassroots are driving this train. The repeal vote shows that the Republicans now understand this.

Even more importantly, it will influence the corporate interests to take repeal seriously. No, I am not expecting the CEO of Merck & Co. or CIGNA to stand at the podium, shake his fist, and scream for repeal. However, the investment decisions that they make over the next two years will largely determine the fate of Obamacare. Every step that discourages them from throwing good money after bad in support of Obamacare will increase the likelihood of full repeal in 2013.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More