Defunding Obamacare

As Sarah Palin said last week, it is “time to bomb Obamacare,” and PJMedia’s Andrew McCarthy makes a powerful case that the Republicans need to stand strong to defund it.

One of his major points is that, given the President’s selective suspensions, delays, extra-legal favoritism (e.g., for congressional staffers) and other sleights-of-hand:

Obama himself is already defunding Obamacare. He has already demonstrated beyond cavil that the program is not ready to be applied as the enabling legislation commands. Conservatives need to be better at hammering this theme. Despite the White House campaign to paint them as extremists, Republicans are merely trying to do what Obama is already doing – except do it more fairly and more faithfully to both the terms of the statute and the debate over its passage.

That brings us to propriety. No president has authority to enact law, either by proclamation or by unilaterally repealing selective parts of a statute. Obama’s presumptuous waivers are an unconstitutional perversion of the legislative process. Legislation is about compromise: There would not be law unless lawmakers agreed to swallow provisions they do not like in order to enact the terms they favor.

. . . .

What conservative proponents of defunding are seeking is not a repeal. Conservatives seek merely to do what Obama is already doing: defund the law … except conservatives would defund within constitutional norms. This would be a refusal to fund a law accomplished by the branch of government responsible for spending and lawmaking, not by an imperial president who has usurped lawmaking power and would coerce spending in accordance with his political whims, not equal protection of law for all Americans.

McCarthy’s PJMedia colleague Richard Fernandez adds:

In reality things have not worked out too well for Barack Obama. His administration is now rotten to its core, unable to face enemies abroad, incapable of tapering the money machine, yet unwilling to yield the slightest ground on the Obamacare racket because that’s what he needs to buy off his critics and pay off his supporters. The question facing the other political players, ranging from Israel, Russia, Iran or the GOP is how much longer Obama can continue and get away with it.

While the administration has abandoned the field of foreign policy, it still believes it can hold its domestic forts. But things may be different this time. Obama’s bombs have cratered the political landscape. They have weakened both his minions in the Democratic Party and his reliable interlocutors in the Republican Party. The withdrawal of the Summers nomination and the shrinking stature of John McCain are both indicators that the old coalition ain’t what it used to be. Obama’s domestic position is probably weaker than it once was. The next few weeks will see it tested and the results should be interesting to watch.

Andy McCarthy is betting “he’ll cave” if the Republicans defund Obamacare. “His political position is untenable, even with the media carrying his water. He will be grinding things to a halt to force Obamacare on the public even though he himself has slashed Obamacare for the benefit of big business and members of Congress.” McCarthy may be right, but the question is whether the Republicans will have the guts to try it. That is not a given.

(65 Posts)

Author: "Ending 'Big SIS' (The Special Interest State) and Renewing the American Republic" (2012) [] and "Property Matters--How Property Rights Are Under Assault and Why You Should Care" (1997). Some former jobs: Assistant Director of Consumer Protection in FTC; member of the Program Analysis Staff of the US Bureau of the Budget; Research Director of the Administrative Conference of the United States; Director of IPCentral at the Progress & Freedom Foundation; VP & GC of the National Legal Center for the Public Interest. Graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, former Book Review Editor of the Harvard Law Review.

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