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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Cruz foresaw Obamacare mess four years ago; was he a soothsayer?

Could it be said Senator Ted Cruz is a soothsayer?

The Encarta Dictionary defines soothsayer as, “somebody telling the future…a predictor of future events.”

Ted CruzCruz did just that – predict future events -- in 2013 when he used all the means at his disposal to drive his party’s Senate leadership to do something – anything – to starve Obamacare of its funding before the law’s most heinous provisions were due to go into effect on January 1, 2014. Cruz peered into the unknown and foresaw a time when it would be impossible to completely get rid of Obamacare once the entitled began receiving subsidies from its dictates.

As the recent hubbub over repealing the monstrosity demonstrates, Cruz was entirely prescient on the matter.

Byron York of the Washington Examiner wrote, “What the 2013 fight showed, and what the current fight is showing again, is that the Republicans' actual last chance to get rid of Obamacare was the 2012 election. That was before the health care law went into effect, before it touched millions of American lives, and when it could still be repealed without great disruption. But when Barack Obama won re-election and could safeguard (and prop up) Obamacare through its early years, the Republican chance to repeal was gone.

“Now Republicans are fighting among themselves over a bill that would make substantial changes in Obamacare but leave the structure of the law intact. And several GOP lawmakers — enough to scuttle any final agreement — are afraid of cuts in subsidies, in coverage, and in the Medicaid expansion.”

York credits Cruz for his wisdom four years ago and provides quotes from the Texas senator correctly prophesying the future back then. There was no magic crystal ball in any of this but you can’t help but wonder whether Cruz might have had one tucked away in his office somewhere.

Thinking about it, however, none of what’s happened politically recently is really all that surprising; and not to belittle Cruz’s distinct ability to glimpse the undefined, but it doesn’t take a genius to surmise that a gaggle of gutless future politicians wouldn’t be able to summons the courage to get rid of Obamacare once the new entitlement had sunk its needles into millions of federal benefits addicts.

These are the law’s citizen defenders, the ones who appear in public debate forums on healthcare or call into talk radio programs and tout how they’d be much worse off today if it weren’t for the Democrats and Obamacare. Instantly the media rushes to shine the spotlight on these lonely individuals and ignores the multitudes of people who tell horror stories about how the law has dramatically increased their out-of-pocket costs and/or forced them to lose their doctors entirely.

That’s where the real truth lies. But the media is only interested in the “feel good” tales of praise for compassionate liberal politicians. In promoting them they pave the way for newer and bigger federal entitlements, a trend that will continue until the U.S. mimics the world’s socialist democracies in paying for everything.

And we’re also not hearing a lot from journalists on those entities that were surreptitiously exempted from Obamacare’s mandates in the first place – or immune from its effects by self-insuring. Small business owners and individuals who aren’t able to purchase group insurance are left holding the bag.

But that’s an old story. As Cruz (and some others) conjectured years ago, Obamacare, in one form or another, is apparently here to stay, largely because the Republican leadership and “moderates” in both the House and Senate don’t have the will to repeal it outright and start over with a market-oriented alternative. In fairness, President Trump seems to be in this camp as well.

It’s been well documented that no Democrats are onboard with any of the GOP’s potential Obamacare fixes. What’s going to happen to them if Republicans fail to come up with a plan?

Caitlin Huey Burns of Real Clear Politics reports, “As the minority in Washington, Democrats have few legislative tools at their disposal to save former President Obama's signature law. Their strategy depends on a caucus unified around withholding votes for legislation that would unravel the law and an energized base to badger moderate Republican senators into opposing the bill…

“While they appear to be making headway in puncturing the GOP effort, Democrats could have strategic challenges in the longer term. If they are successful in preserving the existing health care law, it could expose divisions within the party about how to make changes going forward.”

I think it’s a mistake to suggest Democrats are making headway on sabotaging the Republicans’ efforts. Democrats have proven adept only at finding the nearest microphone to mumble nonsensical ruminations about Republicans “killing” people when they clearly recognize the only ones who can truly stop the GOP are Republicans themselves.

In a Washington political world that’s so singularly fixated on messaging it’s evident the Republicans aren’t doing a very good job of selling Americans on the chronic need to undo Obamacare. Instead of sniping at each other and nitpicking over Medicaid numbers the party should be emphasizing how destructive it would be to leave Obama’s legacy law in place.

Maybe the GOP should hold a press conference at a hospital where they feature doctors and concerned citizens speaking about being harmed by the law and what’s going to happen if something isn’t done. Or President Trump could deliver a primetime address from the Oval Office to present the issues -- what will transpire if/when Obamacare implodes and what the proposals are to avoid it.

It’s clear from reading the current poll numbers that effective messaging isn’t being conveyed. With approval ratings for the Senate and House bills stuck in the high teens it indicates the Republican base isn’t wild about the current bills either. This is probably attributable to the GOP leaders’ reticence to keep their years-old promises to repeal the whole of Obamacare.

Simply put, conservatives aren’t thrilled about the watered-down version. Establishmentarians bashing on conservatives in the Freedom Caucus and in the Senate isn’t helping things. As stated above, conservatives were the ones originally warning of all of today’s difficulties. Therefore, conservatives need to have a major say in the solutions.

If the bill is changed to address the concerns of Senators Cruz, Johnson, Lee and Paul, I can’t help but think the public approval ratings will go up considerably. As for the rest of the Obamacare lovers, let the political chips fall where they will.

After all, the opposition doesn’t seem to be getting any closer to figuring out what’s wrong with their side. Jason Hopkins wrote in The Resurgent, “[T]he Democratic Party has a huge issue connecting with ‘flyover country’ voters. This didn’t appear to be problem for them during the Obama years – but now that the GOP controls all the levers of power in Washington and the vast majority of gubernatorial seats and state legislatures – Democrats are admitting they need to do something if they want a shot at the driver’s seat again.

“That is why they have now created a brand new position: Chair of Heartland Engagement. Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos is the premier chairwoman.

“In a statement, Bustos was blunt is describing what her party has to do if they want to start winning again. ‘The heartland is critical to winning back the majority, and we must do a better job listening to the hardworking families from small towns and rural communities if we hope to earn their support.’”

I disagree; Democrats already do plenty of listening – the problem is they don’t hear anything. The working class Trump voters in the rust belt and Midwest are concerned about economic security, keeping their jobs and enforcing the immigration laws. Democrats, with their amnesty-for-everyone policies and “deplorables” rhetoric demonstrate time and again that what used to be the party of the working man now has morphed into a sanctuary for the coastal, Hollywood and corporate elites.

“Heartland” voters also care about gun rights and energy production. What do Democrats offer them in this regard?

Nothing; Democrats can do all the outreach in the world and it isn’t going to bear fruit unless the candidates – and their agenda -- changes. What appeals to the party’s liberal base (in terms of candidates) just doesn’t resonate outside of the coasts and urban districts.

Republicans can hold onto their base and perhaps foster inroads among other constituencies by pursuing policies that make a difference in people’s lives – things like school choice, meaningful healthcare insurance access, tax reform and immigration enforcement.

For this it doesn’t require a soothsayer to foresee – it just takes political resolve and leadership to accomplish.

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