Before Congress’ recess, immigration reform advocates strategized how to keep precious momentum after legislation survived as I write in “Congress Recess of Immigration Advocacy or My First “Bro fest” on SiriusXM’s Politics Powered by Twitter.”
This is no small feat for immigration watchers who witnessed the bill die in the Senate in 2007. Supporters are trying to avert this from happening in the House and indeed showed up at town halls across the country, including in House opponents’ districts. Who didn’t show? The throngs of angry opponents at least standing against overhauling the nation’s immigration laws. They are laser-focusing on the Affordable Care Act and this Fall are adding it to the debt ceiling and fiscal cliff fiscal fights.
What’s the strategy?
Refuse to fund it.
This isn’t the only game in town. The Republican party hosted a pow wow in Boston, home of our foundational Tea Party which stood up to taxation without representation. Soul searching (this has happened a lot since Election 2012’s “thumping”), Newt Gingrich criticized the GOP for being the party of no ideas. As I’ve said, that’s not accurate. Ideas–some really good–are out there such as allowing patient-consumers to buy health plans across state lines to drive down their cost.
You don’t hear this or other ideas because #DefundObamaCare (¡!) drowns out everything else.
It also is running contrary to the party’s attempts to reach out to new voters, a long view tack in the face of demographic fact: the country is becoming “browner” or more diverse and the Republican base is growing older. In the case of Latinos, “Obamacare” is hugely popular. Makes sense, ¿no?, since this is the group with the largest uninsured. Simply put, the Affordable Care Act means Abuela and Yunior now have better access to get the preventative care and treatment to live healthier lives.
Where is the GOP alternative? Where is the messenger daring on regular basis to do in-reach, going to East L.A., the Doraville section of Atlanta, and La Hacienda supermercado in Orlando to evangelize members of the community with solutions and answers who will in turn spread this good news? Is it the new field team leaders the Republican party announced earlier this summer?
When voters hear, #DefundObamacare, the base hears echoes of liberty and small government.
What does the growing part of the electorate hear?
No healthcare for you.
Too much “No” will translate into another one for the GOP.
In 2016, no White House for you.
This is part of the Agenda panel discussion on MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts Show where I joined Thomas, the Nation’s Adam Fang, and MSNBC’s Timothy Noah.