OP-ED

The Tea Party Conservative Strategy for 2011

Next week starts the new Congress, and with it the Tea Party conservatives. What’s their strategy? What will they rally around?

They’ll grouse endlessly about government spending but I don’t think they’ll use any particular spending bill to mobilize and energize their grass roots. The big bucks are in Social Security, Medicare, and defense, which are too popular. And their support for a permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts will make a mockery of any argument about  taming the deficit.

Nor will they focus on the debt ceiling. Their opposition to raising it will generate a one-day story but won’t rally the troops or register with the public. Most Americans aren’t particularly interested in the debt ceiling, don’t know what it means, and don’t feel affected by it.

Instead, I expect their rallying cry will be about the mandatory purchase of health care built into the new healthcare law. The mandate is the least popular, and least understood, aspect of that law. Yet it’s the lynchpin. Without it, much of the rest of the law falls apart: It’s impossible to cover all high-risk Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions, unless those at far lower risk are required to buy insurance.

Knowing they don’t stand a chance of getting a direct repeal of the mandate (even if they could get a majority in the House for it, they won’t summon 60 votes in the Senate, and have no possibility of overriding a presidential veto), they’ll try to strip the federal budget appropriation of money needed to put the mandate into effect. This could lead to a standoff with the White House over government funding in general, and a possible government shutdown.

My betting is Tea Party conservatives wouldn’t mind a government shutdown over the healthcare mandate. Unlike Bill Clinton’s showdown with Newt Gingrich, which hurt the conservative cause, Tea Partiers believe this one could be helpful. In their view, it would enable them to stand on principle, dramatize their argument that the Obama administration overstepped with healthcare, and generate a particular event around which they can summon the energy and enthusiasm of their ground troops — all with an eye on mobilizing for the 2012 general election.

Advice to Obama White House: Get ready.

Robert Reich served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Labor under President William Jefferson Clinton from 1992 to 1997.  He blogs regularly at robertreich.blogspot.com, where this post first appeared.

Livongo’s Post Ad Banner 728*90

39
Leave a Reply

39 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
18 Comment authors
BillMrs. LifeSandra GoldrupFrankBill Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Bill
Guest

I think you need to back up and take a new look at the situation. Our healthcare has evolved into a massive industry that has a survival and profit agenda. I think the system could, over time, shift to where the physician and services are covered under a single monthly payment regardless of the care effort. When you are healthy the healthcare professional would get paid. If you get sick the payments can continue or perhaps even stop. Under the present system an ideal patient is one who is sick, never gets well but lives long. This person must live… Read more »

Mrs. Life
Guest

I don’t understand why people and officials always go through this debate when they can always find ways to compromise. But then again, who wants to compromise when there are greedy creatures that prolong the agony of everyone for their own interests. Politicians never change.

Sandra Goldrup
Guest
Sandra Goldrup

In the past few hours we have witnessed a tragedy in Arizona. Medical care has been the best possible. Outcomes are hopeful. The congresswoman has excellent, government provided health insurance. Thankfully, none was left to lie/die on the sidewalk while their insurance coverage was determined. Who will pay for the care of any who are not covered? If I am part of the payment, I want it to be up front in the form of taxes rather than hidden in inflated insurance premium costs or increased costs for my own hospital/medical care. We all need health care. If we must… Read more »

nate
Guest
nate

1. 56 billion is the total effect on GDP and would equal tens of thousands of jobs. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE67K07Z20100821 Senior U.S. officials expected the deepwater drilling ban to cost about 23,000 jobs and hold up $10.2 billion in investments, That is direct cost, this doesn’t account for the money taken out of GDP 2. You assume oil will be of value 50 years from now, at the pace solar is advancing its very possible we wont be dependent on oil in 50 years. Nuclear could also replace it in well under 50 years. 3. So CA on its smoggy days, no… Read more »

Frank
Guest

THE LIE OF ‘GREEN JOBS’
Gee .. well, if solar is so great — why is China mostly EXPORTING? What do they know?
And if ‘green’ is so WORTHwhile — why don’t the Kennedys bet their billions on it? What are they SCARED of?
Not investing a penny until the KENNEDYS and OWEbama bet their money FIRST.
No one with a brain believes a word the Psuedo-President says, including “the” and “and.”
REPEAL. FIX, with ADULTS in the lead. REPLACE OWE-BAMA.

Vikram
Guest
Vikram

Nate- ban on offshore drilling was truly a weak attempt. Here it is why 1. 56 billion dollar doesn’t generate tens and thousand of jobs. The rig employs only handful of folks. 2. It doesn’t represent opportunity lost. Oil is not going anywhere and it will just get more precious. 50 years from now when oil will be gone this could be in fact provide national security. 3. Have you visited any area of sand oil? It’s a knock of death for environment. Have you ever breathed air of New Delhi or New Mexico city to feel what pollution is… Read more »

steve
Guest
steve

“Another link that does not agree with your position, steve:” My position is that this statement is wrong, which all cited articles agree upon. “Still waiting for these Affordability Act Proponents to explain how the legislation excludes those in public office who were the loudest architects for it.” They must still have insurance that meets the requirements of the ACA. They do not have not to buy through the exchanges. Neither do I. If you want to claim that the White House does not have to buy through the exchange, then you will be correct, but then you should also… Read more »

Frank
Guest

NOT ‘POLITIFACT’
It is ‘Polit-DOPEY’
To claim OweBama’s health care ‘deform’ has nothing to government is so LAUGHABLE on its face, says it all.
All those AMA lobbyists — just hanging around, right?
No one can be that stupid. Politi-LIARs just tries hard. Now, with NO credibility, whatsoever. Just like poor Ray S. on PBS and his puff-piece on Cuban medicine.
Next: T.R. Reid finds up how idiotic his “book” on medicine in Taiwan was (e.g., no blacks or Latinos in Taiwan — duh.)

Frank
Guest

HOW MANY NEW I.R.S. AGENTS? 14,000? Or 24,000? REPEAL / REPLACE / USE ADULTS, THIS TIME Oh, and MediaMutters/Soros as a data source? Only for fools. — @ Frank – “President Harvard Law FOOL rams a 2,700-page steaming pile of BS” ___ 906 pages, to be exact. Had you troubled yourself to actually examine it, you might know that. But, hey… —- STILL LAUGHABLE Medicare was debated for EIGHT (8) years in Congress and decades in public. President Harvard Law FOOL rams a 2,700-page steaming pile of BS in 15 months — and Prof. Harvard of Berkeley says just “live… Read more »

nate
Guest
nate

The impact of the delays goes beyond the oil industry. The Gulf coast economy has been hit hard by the slowdown in drilling activity, especially because the oil spill also hurt the region’s fishing and tourism industries. The Obama administration in September estimated that 8,000 to 12,000 workers could lose their jobs temporarily as a result of the moratorium; some independent estimates have been much higher. The slowdown also has long-term implications for U.S. oil production. The Energy Information Administration, the research arm of the Department of Energy, last month predicted that domestic offshore oil production will fall 13% this… Read more »

DeterminedMD
Guest
DeterminedMD

Another link that does not agree with your position, steve:
http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/mar/26/tom-coburn/health-bill-appears-exempt-some-congressional-staf/
And it is documented at other links that the Grassley amendment was defeated, so, is it a play on words that these ilk are trying to sucker the public with, to later claim the exemptions were valid? With these “people”, I don’t trust them as far as I can spit on them!
Hey, Grassley’s amendment was no big deal, so why denied by 50+ some senators?
Again, deeds not words, steve!

Bill
Guest
Bill

Rather than manadating that everyone purchase health insurance, so that the rest of us don’t get stuck paying indirectly for others’ medical costs through higher taxes and higher health insurance premiums to pay for uninsured care, maybe we should borrow a page from the libertarians here. My suggestion is that we prohibit everyone who engages in any type of poor health behavior from purchasing health insurance, AND explicitly bar any subsidies to health care providers to deliver care to these people. Bad drivers, people who don’t exercise, smokers – why should they have any right to purchase health insurance and… Read more »

nate
Guest
nate

All this money we are going to save on healthcare can cover the additional cost of Oil and foreign goods, maybe there is some logic to this madness? Unemployement is going to stay around or above 10% but that doesn’t seem to hurt the europeans, no reason we can’t learn to live with it I guess.

nate
Guest
nate

Vikram jobs aren’t as easy to create when you outlaw industries. You can devalue the USD to nothing but as long as there is an offshore oil drilling ban those jobs are gone. As long as those jobs are gone the tens of thousands of jobs that support and are created by them are also gone. Every dollar we spend on foreign oil is out of our economy forever. If you devalue the USD it makes the oil even more expensive hwich sucks even more GDP out of the economy. Add to this the Shale gas ban and what they… Read more »

BobbyG
Guest

@ Frank –
“President Harvard Law FOOL rams a 2,700-page steaming pile of BS”
___
906 pages, to be exact. Had you troubled yourself to actually examine it, you might know that. But, hey…