Today marks the 2-year anniversary of the Democratically controlled House’s passage of Obamacare (without a single Republican vote). For many of us, that date — March 21, 2010, immediately led our thoughts to two future dates: November 2, 2010 and, especially, November 6, 2012. Here’s what I wrote at the time:
“James Madison’s words cannot be repeated often enough: ‘The cool and deliberate sense of the community ought, in all governments, and actually will, in all free governments, ultimately prevail over the views of its rulers.’ The American people don’t want Obamacare, and the will of the American people will ultimately prevail over the will of their rulers — starting in November.
“Repeal will be achieved through a three-step process: First, the vast majority of Americans who oppose Obamacare will elect members to Congress who will actually reflect their views. Second, they will elect a president who will actually reflect their views. Third, this new Congress and new president will repeal the overhaul. (Remember, only 1 percent of Obamacare — based on its projected costs over the next ten years — will have kicked in by then.)”
Step one, of course, played out beautifully. By unflinchingly running against Obamacare and for its full repeal, Republicans picked up more seats in Congress than either party had in 62 years. Step two and step three are still to be realized. They will be achieved if the eventual Republican presidential nominee runs aggressively against Obamacare (thereby achieving a mandate for repeal), beats Obama, and then shows even a fraction of the willpower to repeal Obamacare that Obama showed in passing it.
A key to repealing Obamacare, however, is to leave little doubt in the minds of Senate Democrats that Obama was sent packing largely because of the health care overhaul that he so arrogantly and defiantly shoved down the throats of the American people. It wouldn’t be good to give those Senate Democrats plausible reason to believe that Obama was sent packing merely (or even mostly) because the American people were dissatisfied with the economy under his watch.
Unfortunately, the verdict is still out on whether the eventual Republican nominee (whoever that ends up being) will emphasize Obamacare in a general election campaign. On the eve of the 2-year anniversary of Obamacare’s passage by the House, here’s the entirety of what frontrunner Mitt Romney had to say about Obamacare during his speech celebrating his victory in Illinois:
“After the years of too many apologies and not enough jobs, historic drops in income and historic highs in gas prices, of a president who doesn’t hesitate to use all means necessary to force Obamacare on the American public but leads from behind in world affairs, it’s time to say, ‘Enough!’”
To his credit, Romney did say a great deal about economic freedom in what was generally a fine speech. But is one line about the greatest threat to that freedom sufficient?
So, what could he have said instead? He could have said something like what Paul Ryan said in his outstanding speech on the floor of the House two years ago today:
“[I]ts place in history has not yet been decided. If this passes, the quest to reclaim the American idea is not over. The fight to reapply our founding principles is not finished. It is just a steeper hill to climb, and it is a climb that we will make.”
That about says it all.