I am wondering why opponents haven’t conceded a big point Speaker Ryan has asserted in defending his three-stage approach: A full repeal would require 60 votes in the Senate because it would be subject to the filibuster…Hence, understanding that the contents of the first phase can be debated, if Obamacare is going to be defanged, doesn’t Ryan’s three-stage approach make complete sense?
Of course Ryan is right. Everyone should concede that. So why haven’t they?
Answer: Because for seven years Republicans have been telling everyone who will listen that if they get into power they’ll repeal Obamacare, full stop. They never said “most of it” or “just the parts we can repeal via reconciliation.” Just the opposite: They used the most thunderous, uncompromising language possible. Obamacare was a cancer that needed to be fully excised. And they’d do it.
Something on the order of 1 percent of voters understand filibusters and reconciliation, and Republicans were very careful never to mention those things. So that means 99 percent of Republican voters think Obamacare can be fully repealed if only the GOP leadership has the guts to do it. This is now causing problems for Ryan, but he has only himself to blame. He said he’d repeal Obamacare, and now the Republican base wants him to do it. All this yakking about reconciliation and three-phase plans sounds like nothing more than yet another sellout.