The adversarial and skeptical press is back, at least when it comes to the nascent Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans. Exhibit A is the planned repeal of Obamacare. Over and over, I hear quizzical, adversarial reporters challenging Republicans that repealing Obamacare without having a replacement in place will be a disaster. These reporters, no doubt with DNC talking points in hand, are repeating the case the Democrats are making — the old, “you break it, you bought it” Pottery Barn rule. That the GOP will own health care and any problems once Obamacare repeal occurs. If only the press had been so questioning and skeptical when Obamacare was being passed in the dead of night (Christmas Eve, no less) and Nancy Pelosi was telling us we had to pass it to find out what it would do, as if Obamacare was some kind of giant lab experiment with the American people as the guinea pigs.
To these reporters and Democrat obstructionists, the GOP should say: fine. We’ll fix it, we’ll own it. Have confidence in the reforms, fellas! And don’t dawdle. Bring Tom Price’s ideas to the Congress. Discuss them, modify them, get some think tankers to weigh in. But then go. This year. Have confidence that in the long run these ideas will succeed. If they fail, we deserve to lose. But if we implement them half-heartedly, or piecemeal, or over time, they may not succeed like they could, and then the mandate for the overall effort and the GOP’s credibility on the issue will wane. And understand that as time passes, the political will, capital, and ability to get this stuff passed will dissipate. Strike while the iron is hot, while the country is ready to give the GOP a chance to govern.
The GOP actually has an extraordinary opportunity to steal the mantle of being the party best on domestic issues from the Democrats. If the economy roars back to life and GOP health care reforms succeed, what does that leave Democrats with? Ankle-biting and carping from the sidelines. Maybe drinking a Slurpee.