Why Won't Conservatives Stop Fighting Obamacare?

Even as Tea Party conservatives continue to try to derail funding for health care reform, congressional Republican leaders have acknowledged that they're powerless to kill health care reform, writes the Daily Beast's Jamelle Bouie. 

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Congressional Republican leaders have finally acquiesced in their fight against President Barack Obama's health care reform and have even developed a plan of their own that essentially acknowledges they're powerless to kill it, Jamelle Bouie writes at the Daily Beast. But their conservative Tea Party cohorts continue to rally tirelessly and ineffectively to defund it. He explores why they are unwilling to give up.

"I want to be brutally honest with you about the fight to defund Obamacare," Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told a Tea Party crowd gathered outside of the Capitol. "If the traditional rules of Washington apply, we can't win. If the forum in which we have to make the case is a smoke-filled room, we've lost."

"But," he continued, "I'm convinced the model has changed. I'm convinced that there is a new paradigm -- the grassroots ... No elected politician can win this fight." "Only you," he said, talking over the excited crowd, "can win this fight."

I'm not sure this is brutal honesty -- though, standing in the D.C. heat, surrounded by hundreds of people, it felt like it -- but it's honest enough. After 40 repeal votes in the House and endless hours of rhetoric against it, one thing is clear: congressional Republicans are powerless to stop the Affordable Care Act. There's no way a bill would reach Obama's desk, and if it did, there's no way he would sign it.

To wit, as a new clash over federal spending approaches on the Hill, GOP leaders are working to avoid a confrontation over Obamacare with a government funding proposal that makes repeal optional for the Senate. Under the proposal floated on Tuesday, the House would pass a continuing resolution to keep the nation running at sequester levels, along with an amendment to defund the health-care law, and pass the package to the Senate. The Senate can either approve the amendment or -- far more likely -- vote it down. But that's the extent of it. Either way, a resolution goes to the president, and everyone avoids a government shutdown. Absolutist conservatives are furious about this -- the right-wing Senate Conservatives Fund says House leaders have "chickened out and decided to fund a program that will destroy our country" -- but there's not much they can do about it. Obamacare is here to stay.

Read Jamelle Bouie's entire piece at the Daily Beast.

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