So, did Republicans win the battle over Obamacare after all? The government was shutdown for a little over two weeks due to budgetary differences, specifically over Obamacare. On the eve of the shutdown, Sen. Harry Reid talked the president out of negotiating with Republicans. Reid also rejected a conference committee by House Republicans to resolve the matter. Inside the White House, Dan Pfeiffer, a senior adviser to the president, maintained the "no compromise” aura surrounding the president. In the end, the government reopened, the GOP licked its wounds, and the administration mulled delaying the individual mandate; wait -- what just happened?
In the aftermath of the shutdown, some in the world of political punditry, specifically the left-wingers, harped on the GOP's record low approval ratings, their loss of any leverage for future battles aimed at curbing the size of government, and how this will all culminate in a 2014 GOP thumping. Additionally, the moderate wing of the GOP – and their allies in the media – lamented that the story could've been about the failed rollout of Obamacare, instead of the government shutdown.
First, conservatives are furious with the Republican Party, which contributes to those sagging numbers. Second, we're probably going to get a delay in the individual mandate. The endless – and torturous – saga that is Healthcare.gov, which HHS officials knew was defective, was a gift. Did anyone think that all of these issues could be fixed in a few days?
The nerd herd that's been summoned to fix this debacle noted that the website "didn't have a chance in hell." To put this disaster into perspective, nearly five million lines of code need to be rewritten, which is why most tech experts are calling for a complete "overhaul"of the site. So, for those on the right who were shivering in their boots that the GOP were going to get skewered post-shutdown, you're wrong; Obamacare is front and center.
Delaying Obamacare was what Republicans asked Democrats in return for not shutting down government or playing with the debt ceiling. They rejected the offer. Now, they're being forced to accept what could've spared those non-essential federal employees – and countless veterans – so much grief. It's the seat of irony. Oh, how many donkeys are lining up to support delay? Well, every Senate Democrat running in 2014; that's 21 votes.
So, I guess for liberals, like the Atlantic's Molly Ball, they should consider adding updates to their previous analyses concerning the shutdown, especially after Ball wrote this on October 16:
Obamacare will not be repealed. Obamacare will not be defunded. Obamacare will not be delayed. The individual mandate will not be delayed. The medical-device tax will not be repealed. The health-insurance subsidies given to members of Congress and their staffs will not be taken away.
[A]ny leverage they ever had to push their goals of reducing the size of government and chipping away at health-care reform is gone.
All in all, it's been a worthwhile exercise for the GOP.
Indeed it has been. We got what we wanted. After all, if the individual mandate is delay, it could unravel the whole law.
So, in all, it's time for the members of the Establishment GOP shrieking at Tea Partiers for not knowing strategy to shut up! We're only at this point because conservatives decided to forgo the usual "wait and until tomorrow" approach – and other half-measures – that get us nowhere in the fight against this left-wing administration. We shut down government; we weren't going to let Obamacare go during these budget negotiations; and we're on the cusp of achieving what some Democrats already agree on: a delay of the individual mandate.