The Corner

The Campaign Against Obamacare

Paul Waldman writes in the American Prospect:

During Bill Clinton’s first administration, commentators began to condemn the “permanent campaign”: Even after an election was over, officials continued to obsess over political positioning and media coverage instead of getting down to the hard business of governing. To see how the health-care reform that was passed earlier this year is talked about, you might think we’ve entered into a condition of permanent legislating, when even after a bill is signed into law, the battle goes on.

That’s because there are now people and organizations on the right that have made it their mission to destroy the Affordable Care Act. Fortunately for them, many of the ACA’s most consequential provisions won’t take effect for three more years, leaving ample time — and potentially multiple swings of the political pendulum — for them to hack away at the act’s trunk and limbs in the hopes of felling the entire tree. Their chances of success may be slim, but that the effort is being undertaken at all tells us something about how politics is practiced today.

Yes, it tells us that a sizable number of people refuse to accept each new expansion of the welfare state as a permanent fact of life and the foundation for the next expansion. Seems like a good thing to me.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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