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September 30, 2013

LYONS: 'Defund' Obamacare? That's impossible

(Continued)

No federal court could rule otherwise. It’s a separation of powers issue. These principles are so fundamental to American governance that even the Wall Street Journal reminds GOP hotheads that for all the three-ring thrills provided by Sen. Cruz and his allies, “the only real way to repeal the law is to win elections.”

The irony is that even if House Republicans ended up forcing a government shutdown, the rollout of the Affordable Care Act wouldn’t be much affected. Like Social Security and Medicare, Obamacare has its own dedicated funding stream which Congress can alter only by amending the law -- again, requiring the cooperation of both the Senate and White House.

An even greater irony, many have pointed out, is that if Republicans really believed the law will prove a terrible failure, these last-minute theatrics wouldn’t be necessary. Their actual fear is that once the notoriously uninformed American public gets first-hand experience with the Affordable Care Act, they’re going to like it just fine.

How else to explain the deceptive, Koch-funded TV ad campaign that coincides with Cruz’s Last Stand? Are people so gullible that they’re fooled by a horror film scenario featuring a creepy Uncle Sam with a speculum? “Don’t let the government play doctor,” indeed. Does that pleasant, grandmotherly cancer victim really not grasp the differences between private health insurance reform and a “government takeover” of medical care?

Maybe so, and maybe not. I’m inclined to suspect that the real objection to Obamacare isn’t so much the law’s contents as its sponsor and its perceived beneficiaries: the undeserving poor.

Veteran political scientist Norm Ornstein recently told The Daily Beast’s Kirsten Powers that “the bizarreness of this monomaniacal focus on Obamacare, given that it is fundamentally a Republican program from the 1990s mixed in with Romneycare,” says it all. “Obamacare relies on the private sector; there is no public option. That you are willing to bring the country to its knees to sabotage it ... just shows this is a party that has gone off the rails.”

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