What are the Republicans thinking?

That was the question that has been at the back of my mind through this Obamacare, government shutdown fiasco. As I write this, it appears that a NBC-WSJ poll essentially suggests that a majority of the country also thinks that the Republicans are crazy.

It all started for me when the esteemed Senator Ted Cruz from the great state of Texas spent like 20 hours rambling on a bill that was apparently introduced by himself. Essentially filibustering himself. I thought that was a bit odd, but it did have the desired effect in that I actually tried to listen to what he had to say. That is when it started to fall apart for me. All I heard was doomsday predictions about hell freezing over if Obamacare was implemented without any specifics, either in terms of why would hell freeze over, nor what can we do to prevent it other than repeal it.

That got me thinking about why do these guys hate this law so much. And here were some hypotheses:

1. They are true champions of decentralized government and actually don’t want anything from the federal government. That was proven wrong when 23 of the 26 states that have apparently refused to take any support from the federal for implementing the health exchanegs required under Obamacare actually get more benefits from the federal government than they pay in taxes. So it was not that.

2. They just hate Obama himself and anything he does. There is some merit to this, but, that didn’t explain to me why they would hold the government hostage and threaten default etc. I guess, the Republicans may be crazy, but I was not sure they were that crazy.

The rhetoric coming out of Republicans was so extreme and seemed to suggest that Obamacare threatened the very foundation of this country. That made me wonder, why are the Republicans so scared of this?

I think the Republicans hate Obamacare because they think if it succeeds it will be the end of the Republican party and what it stands for. Only that can explain why they oppose it so viscerally and use such extreme rhetoric about its effects. Why do I say this?

Essentially they are on the wrong side of almost every demographic/cultural trend in the country right now, as the last presidential election showed. In addition, they will likely lose part of their core demographic to the democrats if Obamacare succeeds. If the Republicans lose some of their core demographic  because  ‘Obamacare’ succeeds, that will likely usher in another long period like the 1950s-1970s where the Republicans will have to struggle to drive a legislative agenda that is relevant to a majority of this country.

So, rather than adapt to the new reality and survive by coming up with some alternatives of their own, they are behaving like an injured animal that is cornered, by being aggressive and hoping that the Democrats get scared and capitulate. It is so much easier to stop others from trying out new things than to come up with new ideas oneself.

 

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