Rep. Jeb Hensarling, Rep. Eric Cantor and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Republicans are stoking voter anger over the law until Election Day, which they hope will produce a Mitt Romney presidency and an all-Republican Congress. And it ends by employing budget rules that would allow a fast-track repeal with a 51-vote majority in the Senate, circumventing a Democratic minority and potential filibuster. [...]Just like that, they say. Well, no, it's not just like that.
South Dakota Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Republican Conference, said budget reconciliation could be a “vehicle” for repeal, promising Republicans would make “every attempt” under a GOP Senate majority and Republican White House to do just that.
“I’ve already heard discussions that it can be done through 51 votes in the Senate, which is an easier threshold,” said Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a member of House GOP leadership and a key Romney adviser.
First, they have to count on extreme voter anger. Then they have to count on that anger driving people to the polls. That's because they'll have to have a trifecta in November in order to make sure that this procedural effort to carve every bit of Obamacare out of existence works: They need a Senate majority and a president that wouldn't veto it. Because of that veto, they don't just need Republican majorities, they need two-thirds majorities.
So here's the plan. They have to manufacture another spectacle like the summer of 2009, when the teabaggers went nuts at town meetings, and a traditional media that is still so enamored of the crazies that they cover them. The Koch brother and FreedomWorks and every other astroturfer will happily be there with their money to make it happen, but they'll be taking a big chance that that just doesn't piss off the rest of the country.
Here's what the rest of the country is going to be thinking. The Supreme Court, the one institution of government that the public still has a modicum of respect for has decided that the ACA is constitutional. Shouldn't that finally settle it? There just aren't that many people out there who think like Sen. Rand Paul, that just because the Supreme Court says something is constitutional doesn't mean it's constitutional. Now, granted, Republicans can count on their most rabid base to buy that, but good luck selling that to swing voters.
And here's what else the rest of the country is going to be thinking: Why in the hell are Republicans still fighting this one when they haven't done a goddamned thing about jobs and the economy in the two years that they've held the House?
So, go for it Republicans. Make the next four months all about your temper tantrum that you couldn't make the Supreme Court do your bidding. That's going to go over really well with all the voters out here.