More and more Republicans inside the beltway are whispering that they can fix Obamacare. We've already seen House Republicans do it. They've started fixing Obamacare, claiming they are dismantling it. Really, they are making it more and more likely that Obamacare will, in some perverted form, stay.
Leading Republican intellectuals are trotting out columns and white papers on what to do to fix Obamacare — what to do to change Obamacare. While the base and the public still want Obamacare gone, the party in Washington has begun to think it possible to change it.
When Isildur cut the ring off Sauron's hand, he became tempted by its power. "But for my part I will risk no hurt to this thing: of all the works of Sauron the only fair. It is precious to me, though I buy it with great pain," he wrote.
Republicans have always been tempted by government. On August 15, 2003, Fred Barnes wrote of George W. Bush administration, "They simply believe in using what would normally be seen as liberal means—activist government—for conservative ends. And they're willing to spend more and increase the size of government in the process." They think they can control the leviathan that the Democrats created. They think they can harness it and use it to their ends.
But the problem is and has always been government — not just the wrong party in charge of it. Republicans in Washington were never the Party of Reagan. Every nominee of the party since Reagan, save John McCain, was against Reagan in 1980. The party has always has patrician, paternalist instincts. Those instincts now run toward their donors, whose money they think can preserve their power. That power, and the ability to use government for their own ends, is precious to them.
Instead of doing what is right for main street, the party is inclined to do what is right to its top donors. But the donors and activists all get one vote each. There are more of us than them.
We must keep up the fight in the primaries. We must continue replacing bad Republicans with better Republicans. All men are sinners. We will have no perfect candidates. But we should be working to elect those sinners committed to having as few sinners in charge of the rest of us as possible.
The power of government is precious to the Republican Establishment. We must exert more power than the allure of the leviathan.