I want to be clear on this statement by John Dickerson about how both the utterly disastrous rollout and the unconscionably interfering provisions of Obamacare validated Republican warnings about the law (not that Dickerson had quite enough nerve to admit to Slate readers that we were right, and Obama was wrong):
It’s not just that Republicans benefit when the president’s signature legislation falters. This debate over his initial claim lends credibility to their longstanding opposition to the law. House Speaker John Boehner’s office quickly provided reporters with a quotation from the GOP weekly radio address from September 2009, delivered by Rep. Tom Price: “On the stump, the president regularly tells Americans that ‘if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.’ But if you read the bill, that just isn’t so. For starters, within five years, every health care plan will have to meet a new federal definition for coverage—one that your current plan might not match, even if you like it.” A key critique of the Republican Party’s recent attempt to defund Obamacare was that it was a strategy born of limited vision. They couldn’t see that it was doomed to fail spectacularly. Four years ago, with the Affordable Care Act, they saw this moment coming.
A lot of pixels have been wasted on last month’s so-called “GOP civil war.” There was no war. What there was was a vigorous and deadly serious debate between two groups inside the GOP over what was the best way to deal with Obamacare. We had merciful humanitarians square off against tough-minded pragmatics over the looming train wreck; the former thought that there was a chance that the train could be stopped in time, while the latter thought that people’s time would be better spent rolling more bandages and getting the emergency room ready. But here’s the thing: both sides knew that there was going to be a train wreck.
And here’s the other thing: both sides had a point. Some of the pragmatics need to admit that Lee and Cruz made sure that it was clear that the Republican party utterly opposes this abomination of a health care monstrosity. And some of the humanitarians need to admit that we didn’t have the votes to defund. Personally, I supported defunding, largely because maybe a miracle would happen, but I wasn’t surprised when that miracle didn’t happen. So be it; this is where we are now, and where we are now is fighting the aforementioned health care monstrosity.
Which, hey, we were right to oppose, all along.
PS: Some people reading this may or may not have, in a moment of heat and/or anger, impugned the motivations and/or morality of those opposed to them in last month’s intra-party policy debate. It would behoove everyone involved to let matters drop, and privately resolve to not let themselves be placed in a position where they have to regret things that they may or may not have said.