Republicans Miss Another Opportunity to Be a Popular National Party

by Bob Schwartz

The shortcomings of the ACA website during its high-profile first weeks could have been a gift to the struggling Republicans. A softball to hit out of the park. While Democrats are understandably busy trying to make the best, to explain how complex systems are frequently troubled when they go live (true), to be, in essence, apologists, the Republicans could have been that thing that Americans of all stripes ache for: problem solvers.

Instead they heard the fire bell/dog whistle (or is it an elephant call?) and marched fiercely into battle mode. The current House hearings on the website seem more like a trial: at one point, one Republican member asked all the testifying contractors whether they had discussed their testimony with anyone from the government team beforehand. (Answer: no.)

What a missed opportunity. If the Republicans as a single voice had said that this is, from their perspective, still an awful program, but that we are all Americans, and if we are going to do something, we don’t do it half-assed, and let us today find a way to solve the problem. In earnest. That would have made any defensive positions by the Democrats more glaringly apologist, and would have made the Republicans not just heroes but responsible, reasonable heroes who don’t deserve to be despised by large parts of America, including some people in their own party.

But to some, this would have made these problem-solving heroes EINO—Elephants in Name Only—that is, goats. Watching this kangaroo court, some others might think that goats might be an improvement.