As much as we’re hearing about a Republican civil war over their “idea” of using the debt ceiling to get rid of ObamaCare, Reuters reported Wednesday evening that Republican aides said the idea was “gaining traction” in the House and that an aide to Eric Cantor (R-VA) said “the debt limit is a ‘good leverage point’ to try to force some action on the healthcare law known as ‘Obamacare.'”
In other words, Republicans are leaning toward threatening the economy in order to keep Americans from having health insurance. They see the economy as a “leverage point” in order to appease their corporate masters.
The debt ceiling represents money already spent, so refusing to pay it isn’t exactly a winning strategy for a party that pretends it’s the party of business, but that didn’t stop Republicans from lying to the public. Last time around their hostage taking game, they pretended that by not raising the debt ceiling they were stopping spending.
Their last debt ceiling games caused Standard and Poor to downgrade our country’s credit for the first time ever, and the market plunged into a nauseatingly volatile week last seen during Bush’s 2008 destruction. The Bipartisan Policy Center found that the delay in raising the debt ceiling would raise borrowing costs by $18.9 billion. Thus, they see deliberately causing these horrible economic conditions as “leverage” with which to get what they want.
Uncertainty is the Republican calling card.
Seeing the economy as a leverage point is not such a great headline for the Republican party, but they may not have much of a choice. They’re being pressured from conservative groups/donors who are holding local events to pressure lawmakers into withholding funding on ObamaCare. The big corporate daddies are throwing all of their power and might at their puppets, demanding that they take healthcare away from the people.
The problem for Republicans is that they can’t create their own version of healthcare reform because Obama already took their ideas and instead of embracing their own ideas, they decided to throw tantrums over their own ideas. They called them socialism and pretended that implementing their ideas was going to kill Sarah Palin’s baby. Their base was so afraid that they thought Obama was Hitler.
It’s next to impossible to come back from that post-policy cliff and suddenly claim that hey, the Republican idea of competition driving the marketplace idea isn’t so crummy after all. Greg Sargent at WaPo dug into this problem and determined, “There’s simply no way to construct a real, workable health care reform plan that (1) is based on private insurance, and (2) avoids any of the elements of the Affordable Care Act. … Unfortunately for Republicans, what they wind up with is a policy alternative that most Americans would want nothing to do with.”
So when Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s aide is suddenly telling the press that yes, maybe using the debt ceiling as leverage to defund ObamaCare is a good idea after all, it’s obvious that even the Republicans who know better than to go down this road also lack the courage to face the other road — the road of no policy replacement.
In light of these two very bad choices created by Republicans’ decisions to obstruct any and everything, Republicans are leaning toward utter destruction and chaos. Of course, no one expected them to man up and face their nihilism, let alone actually do something policy wise. As Boehner has told us, they measure their success by what they destroy, not what they build.
Now they want to destroy the economy again, to keep you from having insurance that covers your pre-existing conditions or really, any condition since insurance companies were infamous for suddenly excluding whatever expensive ailment good paying customers got. For this bit of destruction, Republicans are only going to charge you 18.9 billion dollars.
As hard as Republicans worked to demonize ObamaCare, it looks like they have earned the brand GOPNoCare the hard way. Instead of offering a viable healthcare reform alternative, Republicans chose to run against every aspect of ObamaCare and hope they won before people fell in love with it like they did Social Security and Medicare.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.