Nathan Sass

Repeal is not Enough

In Health Care Reform, Politics on October 7, 2010 at 5:00 AM

All during the 2010 campaign we have heard candidates promising the electorate that they will vote to repeal Obamacare. For those of us familiar with the teachings of Sun Tzu, the failure of this strategy is as predictable as the sunrise.

Sun Tzu says:

Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting

Thus the highest form of generalship is to balk [read anticipate and counter] the enemy’s plans;
the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy’s forces;
the next in order is to attack the enemy’s army in the field;
and the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities.

Obamacare, as it currently stands, is a walled city. Assaulting it with only a repeal allows Progressives to take shelter behind the ramparts of messages such as “Republicans want to make insurance companies richer.” and “We cannot return to the failed policies of the past.”

Overcoming these defenses is certainly possible, but will require much time and energy, and will certainly result in many casualties. This is what Progressives are counting on. The longer that Obamacare is the law of the land, the more comfortable people will become with it, making repeal efforts less popular and viable.

We know that the Progressives ultimate goal, as articulated by Russ Feingold, is for Obamacare to pave the way for a single payer Canada style system. As insurance companies go broke, as vacuum will be left that only the government can fill.

Achieving victory in this fight will require that we follow Sun Tzu’s advice. We know the enemy’s plans, and must anticipate and counter them.

We must also prevent the junction of their forces. In this case we must prevent the public from becoming so comfortable with Obamacare that they can no longer envision another policy.

Politically, this means that a repeal of Obamacare cannot be the entire strategy. Republicans must be more forward thinking and strategic by providing an acceptable alternative that makes the Progressive goals of a single payer system all but impossible.

Republicans should have, from the minute the bill was signed, advocated a truly consumer centric alternative that the public would find attractive. To date, there is no sign of any real replacement to Obamacare, giving Progressives the shelter they counted on from the outset.

Progressives have for decades been more strategic that their opponents, and in this case rightly anticipated that Republicans would have no real alternative to their legislation.

The only strategy that can lead to victory is for the GOP to take effective control of both houses of Congress, and immediately propose a bill that not only repeals Obamacare, but replaces it at the same time with a consumer centric health care plan that the public will be excited to have enacted into law. This places the Democrats in the position of defending an unpopular law by refusing to adopt the public’s preferred solution.

Imagine an embittered President Obama vetoing a replacement bill with large public support to defend the unpopular status quo of Obamacare. Progressives will be fully exposed as only interested in government power and not at all interested in real health care reform. Their fraud will be fully on display to anyone who even casually observes political news.

This sets up the final battle in 2012 when we can engage the Progressive’s forces in the field with our ranks swelled by the energized public. Obama will be seen as the personification of the obstruction of the will of the people and will be unable to withstand conservative advances. No words, no matter how expertly delivered, will be able to overcome his actions.

I believe that the plan proposed by Dan Sebring  (and oringially proposed on this blog) is one that is politically viable, and will garner much popular support if advanced boldly by conservatives. There are certainly others that could and should be evaluated, preferrably publicly, but conservatives must arrive at a consensus and advance it in unity.

The GOP majority should immediately move to have the public engage in a discussion of several replacement options, allowing the people to drive the process as much as possible. When the solution is arrived at, it should be advanced without any delay.
Politics has always been the battlefield of ideas, and as such we cannot continue to ignore the tenants of Sun Tzu regarding strategic thinking.

This battle truly is ultimately over socialized medicine and may be the single most important in 100 years, and conservatives cannot continue to be tactical while our adversary is being strategic.


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