Because only one-third of the Senators face the voters in any given election, it was mathematically impossible for the Republicans to pick up enough seats in 2010 for a veto-proof majority that would allow them to overturn Obamacare altogether. In the event, the GOP had to settle for a minority that increased enough to sustain a filibuster.
So now the strategy is to delay and defund the worst components of Obamacare whenever possible, while waiting for the courts and the election cycle to take care of the rest.
In the Weekly Standard, Noemie Emery does the best job I’ve seen of explaining how health care “reform” could continue to backfire on Obama and the Democrats. I couldn’t improve on her headline, so I put it in quotes at the top of this post. You really should read the whole thing, but of course you won’t, so here are some excerpts:
[S]eldom before has an administration governed so against the grain of public opinion, and when this occurs, there are costs. The costs are the loss of the House by a landslide of epic proportions and the implosion of support for the president’s party. The success is the passage of Obama-care, which liberals believed would change things forever. Congresses come and go, so they said, while a historic reform is forever: It would live on, they averred, while the results of the midterms would blow off quite quickly. But even before the Eastern District Court of Virginia blew a large hole in Obamacare in early December, finding its individual mandate unconstitutional, there were signs that this bargain was taking on water.
Because the historic GOP tsunami occurred in a Census year, Republicans will have significantly more influence over the gerrymandering process than they would have otherwise.
Added to this, Obama now faces hostile state governments in all the swing states he won two years ago, including Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as Ohio, Virginia, and Florida. He has to win most of these, or else he’s a goner.
The GOP-dominated House undoubtedly will pass an outright repeal of all or most of Obamacare, which will never get to the Senate floor for a vote. However,
The House will make life hard for the Democrats in the Senate, 23 of whom are up for reelection in 2012 [versus only 10 Republican senators-KP], and 13 of whom come from states in which Obamacare is extremely unpopular and which took a sharp turn to the right in the recent midterm elections. It will force them to vote over and over on health care, choosing between their constituents and their party and president, knowing their “aye” votes will find their way into commercials run by their GOP challengers, and their “nay” votes will enrage their own party’s base. When they voted “aye” for the first time (in December 2009) it was bad enough, but they had no way of knowing that the endgame would become quite so ugly, that the act itself would become quite so unpopular, or that Obama would become quite so unable to save them from voters’ hostility; now they know all of these things.
The sweeping nature of the Democrats’ health care “victory” will work against them.
Along with the lawsuits, and fights in the House and statehouses, there seems to exist a distinct possibility that the act may collapse of its weight. Assembled in haste—one might say desperation—and larded with deals to secure votes and backing, it is a 2,000-plus page assemblage of time bombs with varying fuse lengths that are starting to blow up in succession, causing large numbers of people inconvenience, or money, or both. … “Firms Feel Pain from Health Law” ran a recent article in the Wall Street Journal describing the problems faced by large and middle-sized businesses in trying to understand, much less to comply with, the act.
“There’s [an] administrative burden just to try and understand the 2,400 pages,” said one executive, describing the pain of spending so much time and money on things that aren’t helping their companies grow. Because of this, among other reasons, the bill continues to grow more unpopular, as six in ten people now favor repeal.
Looking ahead to 2012:
If a Republican is elected in 2012, then health care is history. If health care is the issue, Obama will lose. If all things are equal, and it is an issue, a loss is still likely. If the economy rebounds strongly, Obama will probably win. But if it doesn’t, and he loses because of this reason, then health care will have helped do him in. Businesses are sitting on loads of cash these days, reluctant to invest and add jobs until they know what will happen with regulations and taxes under this new health care dispensation, which may take effect, be radically altered in the states or by Congress, or be blown away by the courts.
To paraphrase King Pyrrhus, another such victory and the Democrats are undone.