mystery science

A couple of weeks ago I posted on the pathetic attempt by Wisconsin [mc_name name=’Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’J000293′ ] to save Obamacare subsidies should the Supreme Court rule them illegal. His strategy is to float a bill that looks like a repeal of Obamacare but with the odd exception of funding subsidies to people who purchased insurance via federal exchanges. Why, you might ask, would a bill that purports to kill off Obamacare fund subsidies to a program it ended? Because everyone knows that the bill that goes to Obama will have had anything objectionable stripped out. The GOP can claim to have voted, yet again, to end Obamacare while, in fact, funding it.

This is Failure Theater as played by a maestro, unlike that low IQ piker [mc_name name=’Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001071′ ].

The potential threat by the Supreme Court to declare part of Obamacare illegal has not only filled the GOP with angst but it has created a veritable Broadway season of Failure Theater.

Republicans believe a Supreme Court ruling against ObamaCare this summer would give them leverage to force President Obama to scrap the healthcare law’s central pillars.

[mc_name name=’Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’B001261′ ] (R-Wyo.), who is leading the Senate GOP’s response to King v. Burwell, said Republicans will be willing to strike a deal with Obama to ensure that the 7.5 million people who stand to lose their subsidies are protected, at least until the 2016 elections.

But in return, they would demand that Obama to do something he has long resisted: nix the employer and individual mandates for insurance coverage.

I just wet myself.

The facts are as obvious as they are frustrating. Obamacare has created a new dependent class in America: virtually everyone who has health insurance. The GOP, while it talks a tough game on government spending, is just as addicted to giving money to random residents, legal and illegal, of America as are the Democrats. Does anyone believe that a GOP that is willing to fund Obamacare is actually interested in getting rid of it? No? I didn’t think so. Let’s read further to see how the John Barrasso edition of Failure Theater plays out. Via, keep this in mind, TPM:

But the difference between this and other legislative paths that Republicans might take — pushing for full repeal or repealing something more crucial to the law’s foundation like the individual mandate — is that a repeal of the employer mandate might be something the White House could actually stomach.

The Obama administration has already softened the mandate on its own, delaying it for a year and allowing medium-sized companies to avoid any penalties until 2016 at the behest of the business community. Policy experts generally agree that the mandate could be axed, and Obamacare would still function. RAND, a think tank, estimated that a one-year delay of the mandate would result in a relatively small decrease in the number of people covered: 300,000.

The White House isn’t openly speculating about how it’d handle a Republican Congress and its Obamacare agenda. Some insiders believe that it would block any changes to the law or else risk emboldening the GOP to undermine the law more and more.

But a repeal bill would almost certainly earn some Democratic support in the Senate — NFIB’s Austin said her group has already been in touch with moderates like Joe Manchin (D-WV) and [mc_name name=’Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’D000607′ ] (D-IN). The Obamacare “fixes” that a group of five Democratic senatorsintroduced didn’t fully repeal the mandate, but did scale it back.

Even White House allies say the administration should at least consider allowing repeal in this scenario.

“It is expendable, but expensive to repeal,” Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist who helped craft Obamacare, told TPM. “I think they should consider it if there is a pay-for.”

In other words, the employer mandate has turned out to be not only painful for the administration but they’ve discovered it really isn’t necessary. On the other hand, the individual mandate is the keystone to the entire system. Unless young, healthy people can be forced to buy a product they really don’t need there is no way Obamacare works. So Barrasso, like Johnson, is merely engaged in Failure Theater. They will give Obama what he needs, subsidies on federal exchanges, in exchange for what he’s already ready to jettison.

John Barrasso shows us how Failure Theater is played. Make a big deal over fighting something. Fold like a cheap suit on the important issues. Win a meaningless point Obama was willing to give up. Claim victory and do an end zone dance.