Yes, I know. The title is an absurdity -- two names for the same thing. Not to everyone, though, and having created a demon named Obamacare, what will the Republicans do now?
-- To destroy a man, first they must destroy his name --
The statement above is a rephrasing of a quote by Djimon Hounsou as Juba in the movie Gladiator. As written, it is tempting evaluation of the current Republican political strategy.
We saw it all. They tried to keep Obama from the presidency in 2008, and they failed. They worked to keep his agenda from passage, including the ACA, and they were unable. Nor would the Supreme Court do their dirty work by shooting down this law. They couldn't beat him on a second try in 2012. They then shut down the government and threatened world economic chaos trying to hack a dent in the health insurance law, with no result but a precipitous drop in their popularity.
Since Republicans have routinely opposed legislation which they themselves had proposed as soon as Obama got behind it, it should be clear that it is not really his agenda so much as his name they seek to destroy. Having failed at so many attempts, what is left to them?
There actually is some historical basis for them to claim that health insurance reform was their idea all along. The Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank, did originate the core idea for what became Governor Mitt Romney's signal health insurance legislation in Massachusetts, and this later became the inspiration for the ACA. Up to now, Republicans have steadfastly denounced the connection.
The recent House hearings on the ACA implementation had one quizzical aspect. Were the Republicans actually criticizing the flawed rollout of a law they had done everything possible to consign to the trash bin? Have they suddenly started to promote the success of a law they had cursed in a number of inventive ways? Could they possibly be positioning themselves to re-enter the stage as the white knights, here to save the Affordable Care Act from the depradations of that demon from a pit of hell, Obamacare?
It should be clear that this law will eventually be as successful as the Massachusetts health care plan, and the Republicans have been forced to admit this. All that is left to them is to swoop in and try to take credit for it. In an attempt to weaken Obama's name, look for them to stop using the term "Obamacare." Look for them to increasingly cite Romney's great achievement and the conservative spirit behind the Affordable Care Act. The destruction of "Obamacare" will give Ted Cruz and his ilk a ledge to jump to while the ACA is fully implemented behind their backs.
Republicans can be a peculiar lot, hard to deal with. Argument and logic have no effect on them, perhaps derision is all that is left.