Should Republicans Stop Fighting for Obamacare's Repeal?
Kevin Williamson’s recent piece on Obama contains this graf about what to expect from a Romney administration post-election, which puts a lot of caveats around the idea of repealing and replacing Obamacare (emphasis mine):
“This will be especially important when it comes to repealing Obamacare, the first step of which is: Do not announce that you are repealing Obamacare. The smart way to repeal Obamacare is to revisit the legislation and to amend it in ways that remove the worst of its statist overreach and replace it with the best available free-market alternatives. The Wyden-Ryan approach is one possible model for amending Obamacare, but it is not the only one, and it is not sufficient by itself. In any case, it will be more effective to amend the legislation in such a way that it is effectively repealed and replaced than to have an emotionally satisfying but probably unwinnable fight over repeal per se.”
At New York Mag, Jon Chait responds with laughter.
“Williamson is arguing that conservatives should abandon their obsession with the repeal crusade, and allow Romney to build a consensus for radical changes to the Affordable Care Act... First of all, in the Wyden-Ryan approach, subsidized private insurance through exchanges, is not a reform of Obamacare. It is Obamacare. And this fact illustrates the broader problem with Williamson's argument. He wants conservatives to stop demanding that Romney commit to a full and total effort to repeal every single part of the Affordable Care Act, and instead let him muck around in the legislation so that it conforms with conservative principles. But the reason conservatives are so insistent on pinning Romney down is that, if he were allowed to muck around in the legislation, he'd wind up with something very similar. What conservatives want is for Romney to ignore his technocratic impulses. They have good reason to want that.”
Perhaps this is part of a growing recognition that the best case scenario outcome of the 2012 election could be what Romney promised in 2010: to “Repeal the bad and keep the good.”