That old saying, “if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything,” is being proven true yet again by the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives.
Failing to embrace an agenda that would keep faith with the people who elected them, the House GOP honchos — led by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan — are about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
As the uproar over millions of insurance cancellations began to build, Upton and his cronies devised a cynical plan to try to grab credit “for doing something” to address the real pain and anguish felt by American families.
They proposed a bill that would permit insurance companies to offer the cancelled policies to the public for one year.
Of course, this flim-flam would have the effect of putting the onus on private business, the insurance companies, and away from the real culprit, President Obama and Obamacare.
After all, the reasons the policies were cancelled in the first place was Obamacare and its associated regulations.
So, having followed the horribly written and implemented law, private business is to take the blame if now, after the fact, a policy is not reinstated. And Obama will be able to skip away scot-free, blaming the insurance providers for a meltdown he himself created.
Predictably, Senate Democrats -- prompted by none other than the Great Triangulator, Bill Clinton -- saw an opening.
Why only for a year, they asked? Why not mandate that insurance companies reinstate the policies for good? And there should be no “permitted” nonsense.
The companies should be forced to reinstate the policies, even if the underlying pool of insured has made the policies unprofitable. Good old fashioned populism, government coercion and class warfare — a liberal dream come true.
Now that Upton and House Republican leadership has blundered into this trap of their own creation, what does Upton do? He praises the Senate Democrat plan!
He apparently is not content to let just Obama off the hook, now he also wants to make sure that every vulnerable Senate Democrat gets “cover” for the disaster that is Obamacare.
How is this possible? Very simple. Upton, a top advisor to House Speaker John Boehner and a big dog in establishment GOP circles, doesn't believe in advancing a partisan point of view.
He believes that only bipartisan consensus of the established order is a worthy goal. Ending Obamacare and the socialization of 18 percent of the U.S. economy is not any of his concern. Finding “consensus” is all that matters.
And, of course, this should not be a shock. After all, it was Upton who ran to the Obama camp after the 2008 election asking to be the Obama ambassador to the House GOP.
The simple fact is the Upton bill is appeasement, not clever message positioning. It has but one outcome — giving cover to the people who are responsible for the growing nightmare that is Obamacare. The Upton bill should be immediately pulled from the calendar.
If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Senate Democratic colleagues want to send a bill to the House of Representatives, good.
The House should take it, amend it to accomplish real change to Obamacare and send it back. But to continue to push a weak, transparent ploy that accomplished nothing except for shifting the blame away from Obama and his congressional allies onto the health insurers will only yield the GOP the disdain of tens of millions of Americans who have been materially harmed by Obamacare.
Upton and his ilk — believing in nothing, willing to fight to the bitter end for nothing — have broken faith with those that put them in the majority.
Those members of more sturdy stock must move immediately to demand that House GOP “leadership” pull Upton’s blunder from the agenda, and at the very least, insist upon a one-year delay for the entire law from desperate Democrats.
Rejecting meaningless political gamesmanship in favor of stopping the law from destroying what remains of the American health care system is both good policy and good politics.
That's a combination that only House Republican “leadership” seems to be incapable of seeing and acting upon.Bill Wilson is a member of the board of directors of Americans for Limited Government.