the national interest

Conservative Pundit Admits Obamacare Was a Massive Political Success That May Destroy the Republican Party

WASHINGTON - MARCH 23: U.S. President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Health Care for America Act during a ceremony with fellow Democrats in the East Room of the White House March 23, 2010 in Washington, DC. The historic bill was passed by the House of Representatives Sunday after a 14-month-long political battle that left the legislation without a single Republican vote. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
President Obama in 2010, carrying out a deviously complex, long-term plan to eliminate political opposition. Photo: Win McNamee/2010 Getty Images

Conservatives who loathe or fear Donald Trump have a tendency to depict the Republican front-runner as a reflection not of the party whose heart he is winning but the party that loathes him uniformly. To the burgeoning genre of conservative analyses attributing Trump’s rise to things conservatives already hate, National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar adds the passage of Obamacare:

Ima­gine, for a mo­ment, the state of the 2010 midterms without Obama­care in the equa­tion. Re­pub­lic­ans would have run against the stag­nant state of the eco­nomy with some suc­cess. But without the gal­van­iz­ing op­pos­i­tion to Obama’s health care law—Re­pub­lic­ans net­ted a whop­ping 63 House seats that year—Demo­crats would likely have nar­rowly kept con­trol of Con­gress, and con­tin­ued to press for­ward with Obama’s agenda. There would be tea-party-aligned Re­pub­lic­ans elec­ted, but ab­sent the wave, not enough to form the con­cer­ted op­pos­i­tion that emerged.  …

With in­tensi­fy­ing en­ergy on the Right, the biggest polit­ic­al threat to mem­bers emerged from with­in their own party, and they ad­ap­ted ac­cord­ingly.

Long story short, by shepherding a major social reform that has cut the uninsured rate in half while coming in well below its projected costs and bringing health-care inflation down to its lowest rate in recorded history, Obama angered Republicans, forcing them to nominate an ignorant, bigoted clown.

Of course, one might just as easily follow this historical analysis back to a different starting point. For instance, by successfully designing and implementing a reform that managed to bring down the uninsured rate in a market-friendly way that did not disrupt existing private insurance, Mitt Romney made it irresistibly tempting for Obama to follow his model. Romney is the one who paved the way for Trump!

But there is also another inescapable implication of Kraushaar’s argument. Kraushaar has insisted many, many times that the law is a political debacle for Democrats, and even predicted in 2013 that Democrats in Congress would probably join with Republicans to repeal it. Kraushaar has also predicted that Republicans have an edge that should make them the natural favorites to win in November.

But now he is saying that Obamacare set in motion a series of events that will lead to Republicans nominating an unelectable buffoon who, as Kraushaar has also said, “could blow the party to smithereens.” Not only has the law proven a substantive triumph, but it has all but guaranteed the election of a Democratic successor to Obama (who otherwise would have lost) and possibly destroyed the opposition party. This law just keeps getting better.

Conservative Pundit: Obamacare May Destroy GOP