Last week, the National Journal’s Ron Fournier — a former Associate Press man, by the way — tweeted this in reaction to the CBO report on Obamacare. That report predicted that Obamacare would kill off the equivalent of more than 2 million jobs through the disincentives to work that it creates.
That wasn’t the GOP saying that. It was the Congressional Budget Office. But many Republicans seized on the report as evidence that Obamacare hurts the economy (because it does).
The GOP argument on Obamacare has more than a whiff of Reagan-era racial “welfare queen” politics —> http://t.co/2ZQ0Baj9pQ
— Ron Fournier (@ron_fournier) February 6, 2014
The Reagan-era welfare queen story wasn’t about race. It was about abuse of taxpayers. The welfare queen in question was Linda Taylor, and in addition to being a welfare fraudster, she was involved in kidnappings and murder. Democrats made the welfare queen story about race because that’s what they do and have done for decades. They did it to distract from their longstanding record of bulking up the welfare rolls at taxpayer expense.
Fournier has been around the block long enough to know that, so his injection of race into the story last week was evidence of either incompetence or dishonesty.
Today, perhaps he is being a bit more honest. He writes that he is “getting sick of defending Obamacare.”
Was that his job?
Apparently he is under the impression that it is, so he’s screaming “Take this job and shove it!” Take a look at his lead paragraph. The grouping is telling.
It’s getting difficult and slinking toward impossible to defend the Affordable Care Act. The latest blow to Democratic candidates, liberal activists, and naïve columnists like me came Monday from the White House, which announced yet another delay in the Obamacare implementation.
He’s on the team!
For the second time in a year, certain businesses were given more time before being forced to offer health insurance to most of their full-time workers. Employers with 50 to 99 workers were given until 2016 to comply, two years longer than required by law. During a yearlong grace period, larger companies will be required to insure fewer employees than spelled out in the law.
Not coincidentally, the delays punt implementation beyond congressional elections in November, which raises the first problem with defending Obamacare: The White House has politicized its signature policy.
Yeah, that’s not the first problem with defending Obamacare. But at least he found a problem.
The win-at-all-cost mentality helped create a culture in which a partisan-line vote was deemed sufficient for passing transcendent legislation. It spurred advisers to develop a dishonest talking point—”If you like your health plan, you’ll be able to keep your health plan.” And political expediency led Obama to repeat the line, over and over and over again, when he knew, or should have known, it was false.
Just like Fournier himself knew that playing the race card was dishonest? Both played the lie anyway.
Advocates for a strong executive branch, including me, have given the White House a pass on its rule-making authority, because implementing such a complicated law requires flexibility. But the law may be getting stretched to the point of breaking. Think of the ACA as a game of Jenga: Adjust one piece and the rest are affected; adjust too many and it falls.
If not illegal, the changes are fueling suspicion among Obama-loathing conservatives, and confusion among the rest of us. Even the law’s most fervent supporters are frustrated.
The National Journal should have been honest all along — it saw its job not as reporting on Obama and Obamacare, but as defending both.
Fournier closes by keeping the faith.
Put me in the frustrated category. I want the ACA to work because I want health insurance provided to the millions without it, for both the moral and economic benefits. I want the ACA to work because, as Charles Lane wrote for The Washington Post, the link between work and insurance needs to be broken. I want the ACA to work because the GOP has not offered a serious alternative that can pass Congress.
Unfortunately, the president and his team are making their good intentions almost indefensible.
The GOP has offered serious alternatives, but the truth is, a few simple things could have made healthcare more affordable while not creating the Frankenstein monster that Obamacare is. Fournier doesn’t see any of that, for some reason. And he doesn’t see it as his job to defend anything Republicans do, for some reason.
Fournier should just admit that he’s a partisan Democrat and be done with it.