A New York Times story out today on Republican divisions on repealing President Obama’s national health care law includes this quote:
“Anytime Republicans are debating taxes and the economy, we’re winning,” said a veteran Republican campaign consultant who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid publicly crossing his party’s leadership. “Anytime we’re debating health care, they’re winning.”
The reality is that Republicans owe their House majority to their pledge to repeal Obamacare — something obvious to all who paid attention to the 2010 election and later reaffirmed by an academic study. Even in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling upholding the law as constitutional, Obamacare remains unpopular and a majority of Americans still favor repealing the whole thing.
Make no mistake, for many conservatives unsatisfied with Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee, the only thing that’s motivating them to support him right now is the fact that he’s the only remaining vehicle to repeal Obamacare. If he goes wobbly on that promise, he’ll be of little use to the right.
True, Romney is in a terrible position to exploit this issue given that his Massachusetts health care law was remarkably similar to Obama’s national one. But as I’ve noted, there’s no reason why other Republicans have to let themselves get dragged into trying to explain Romney’s indefensible health care record.
It’s telling that the consultant wouldn’t agree to be quoted by name when offering such weak-kneed analysis. Republicans know that they have to stand behind their pledge to repeal the law — and those who disagree are afraid to say so publicly.