If Americans allow ObamaCare to be put into effect, it will “destroy the free enterprise system,” state Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens warned a group of Republicans in Clarke County this week. And if that prospect isn’t dire enough to scare you, “the America you and I know and love will be destroyed,” Hudgens said, quoted by Blake Aued in Flagpole magazine.
Hudgens is hardly alone in depicting ObamaCare as the coming zombie apocalypse, with fellow Republicans in Washington upping the ante as well. As a spokesman for the Senate Conservatives Fund put it, “This is about stopping the worst law that has ever been passed, something we believe will destroy the country.”
And of course, if this is really the worst law ever passed, a law that will destroy both America and the free-enterprise system, then Hudgens is right in his self-confessed campaign to sabotage the program. Likewise, Republicans in Congress may even be justified in their threat to shut down the government or force it into default over the next few weeks in order to ensure that ObamaCare is never implemented.
However, you do have to wonder how Republicans have managed to whip themselves into such hysteria. After all, this is a policy that was hatched in a conservative think tank, pushed by Newt Gingrich and other right-wing leaders, successfully implemented at the state level by the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee and even introduced as legislation by conservative Republicans in the Georgia Legislature a few years ago.
Were all those people really Marxists in disguise, out to destroy America?
To encourage themselves in their crusade, Republicans cite polling data demonstrating that a majority of Americans now oppose ObamaCare, and they’re right. That’s exactly what the polls say. According to the latest CNN poll, 57 percent of Americans now oppose the president’s signature health-care law, with just 39 percent in support. That’s a potential problem for the Democrats, particularly if those numbers hold once the law is implemented.
But here’s where Republicans are making their fatal miscalculation: While that 57 percent may not like what they’ve been told about ObamaCare, most of them still don’t see it as some political apocalypse with the fate of Western civilization on the line. And they certainly don’t think it’s worth shutting down the government or pushing the government into default in order to stop it. That’s a fixation of the GOP base, not the general electorate.
The same CNN poll cited above makes that point quite plainly. If the government is forced to shut down over ObamaCare when the budget expires on Sept. 30, just 33 percent would blame Obama, while 51 percent would blame the GOP. If the Republicans refuse to raise the debt ceiling in an effort to stop ObamaCare, forcing a default with potentially enormous economic ramifications, the margin is even more lopsided.
Just 25 percent of Americans would blame Obama for the default and its consequences. More than twice as many — 54 percent — would blame the Republicans. Unfortunately, the Republican Party is in such a heightened emotional state these days that any party leader who tries to make that sensible, pragmatic argument in public is immediately shouted down as a RINO and a traitor.
So, go ahead boys. You’ve pushed us to the fiscal brink so many times now that your little game has gotten old and your threats seem threadbare. Proceed, gentlemen. Do what you seem intent on doing, but be aware: Reality looms.