The government has reopened, but has President Obama learned the right lessons from the Republicans' hostility?
When most liberals wanted to expand Medicare, Obama Care went in a different direction. With its individual mandate and private insurance company focus, Obama Care was originally based on a proposal of the Heritage Foundation, one of the most right wing think tanks in Washington.
And it received significant Republican support. Not just Mitt Romney, who instituted it when he was the Governor of Massachusetts. No, Senate Republican Leader Bob Dole (and 18 other Republican Senators) sponsored it.
Apparently, even a Republican leader can be just another RINO (Republican In Name Only) to the Tea Party.
When Obama accepted this conservative health care proposal, how did the Republicans respond? Republican Congressman Todd Akin spoke for much of his Party: "Today America is threatened with a Stage Three cancer of socialism, and ObamaCare is Exhibit 1."
That's right, ObamaCare is already a compromise, but Republicans act as if Karl Marx had drafted Obama Care, not Stuart Butler of the Heritage Foundation.
This history of ObamaCare has received some media attention, at least. But here's what's largely been ignored: ObamaCare isn't the only time that Republicans have opposed their own policies once Obama proposed them.
What was the Bush Administration's response to the financial crash? Deficit spending! At that point, the highest deficit spending in American history. But when Obama deficit spends, Michelle Bachman (R-MN) alleges that Obama is "committed to class warfare" and "has something [against] businesses."
Gee, expenditures exceeding revenue must mean something different when the Republicans do it.
And remember cap-and-trade, the conservative response to climate change? No carbon tax or increased environmental regulation for them! Cap-and-trade was a market-based remedy once advocated by John McCain and Newt Gingrich. Who remembers today? They don't.
And this list isn't exhaustive: In 2010, Obama's call for a Debt Commission was defeated in the Senate when six Republican co-sponsors voted against it??? Immigration reform was endorsed by George W. Bush, arguably the most conservative President since Calvin Coolidge. But not by a majority of Republicans in the House or Senate once Obama came out in support. The House dropped scrapping the medical device tax from its recent budget. House Republicans were insisting on it until the Administration indicated some openness to it.
So, it's time for the Democrats to wise up: Don't like a conservative policy? There's only one way to get it off the agenda.
Obama should endorse it.
That's right. If Obama approves a policy--even a policy first proposed by Republicans and endorsed by Republican leaders--nearly every Republican will rush to oppose it.
This opens up a whole new opportunity. Who knows how many right wing policies Obama can set back?
To start, Obama should endorse the Keystone Pipeline. Republicans will see this as playing favorites among energy producers. Or argue that approving something that Canadians want is caving to terrorists. Regardless, they'll kill it.
How about supporting the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision? Republicans are sure to say that unlimited corporate political contributions are just liberals catering to their corporate cronies.
Opening Social Security to private investment? Not if a Socialist like Obama supports it. Soon, the Tea Party will be saying that Social Security shouldn't exist at all--and should be called Socialist Security in the meantime.
Restricting contraceptives or abortion? Don't liberals believe in freedom?
Hmmm...this should work with about everything...but taxes. I wouldn't chance that.
So, when Republicans start shouting that Obama Care is forcing companies to give up health insurance and thus destroying America--while at the same time proposing health care reform that would delink health care from employment--Obama can take some comfort.
His support may not get his own program through, but at least he will have killed the conservative agenda.
He might even see whether he can take this beyond policy into politics. Hmmm...what if he joined the Tea Party and became a Christian fundamentalist? Would he empty those groups out? Or too far a stretch?