Over the past few days at CPAC, Sean Hannity has asked various prospective Republican presidential candidates to list their “top five agenda items.” Former governor Jeb Bush’s list did not include repealing Obamacare.
Bush’s list included (1) undoing President Obama’s lawless executive actions, (2) regulatory reform, (3) tax reform, (4) encouraging economic growth, and (5) sending “a signal to the rest of the world that we’re going to be their partner for peace and security.” But it did not include repealing Obamacare or signing a conservative alternative to Obamacare into law.
Neither Governor Scott Walker nor Senator Marco Rubio listed repealing Obamacare as a stand-alone agenda item, but both did list it as a subcomponent of their first agenda item. Walker’s first agenda item was “growth,” which he said could be brought about through (in the order he listed them) tax reform, repealing Obamacare, and a pro-energy policy. Similarly, Rubio’s first agenda item was a “healthy economy,” which he said could be brought about through (again, in the order he listed them) tax reform, regulatory reform, repealing and replacing Obamacare, a pro-energy policy, and a balanced budget. (Walker listed only two other agenda items: devolving power to the states, and showing clarity and determination in our foreign policy. Rubio also listed only two others: giving “people the skills they need for the 21st century,” and ensuring a strong military.)
Senator Ted Cruz, meanwhile, listed repeal as a stand-alone agenda item, putting it first: “Number one, repeal every blasted word of Obamacare.”
If early indications are that Cruz is prioritizing repeal more than other leading candidates, it remains to be seen who will actually advance a winning conservative alternative (along these lines) that can make repeal a reality.