Tea Party: Obamacare Was Never Approved

In the aftermath of its devastating shutdown defeat, the Tea Party is now charging that Americans never approved the Affordable Care Act, writes the Daily Beast's Jamelle Bouie.

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Jim DeMint (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Daily Beast's Jamelle Bouie examines the Tea Party's plans for its next battle against President Obama in the aftermath of its devastating shutdown defeat. Members are now charging that Americans never approved the Affordable Care Act, he says.

This was supposed to be Jim DeMint's moment. As head of the Heritage Foundation, chief sponsor of Heritage Action, and founder of the Senate Conservatives Fund, he had positioned himself as the Lex Luthor of American politics, a schemer who—with the help of like-minded ideologues like Texas Senator Ted Cruz—had whipped conservatives into a frenzy. With their control of the House of Representatives, and the debt ceiling and the continuing resolution, they would defund the Affordable Care Act, and land a mortal blow to the legacy of Barack Obama.

Strategic recklessness aside, the chief problem with the plan was that it needed a weak, feckless opposition. But Obama and the Democrats wouldn't oblige. They held their ground, and when it became clear they would make no concessions, the scheme fell apart.

But rather than concede and move on, DeMint has redoubled his efforts to dislodge the president's health-care law. To wit, in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, he announced he will "continue to fight" to "protect the American people from the harmful effects of the law."

The obvious question is, "why?" Not only has the public voiced its intense dissatisfaction with the push to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but there's the tiny issue of elections: We're not even a year removed from the results of the last contest, where a solid majority of voters reelected Obamacare's namesake.

"But aha!", says (my imagined) DeMint, teeth bared in a mischievous grin. "The public didn't endorse Obamacare at all!" Or, as he writes in the op-ed, "Obamacare was not the central fight in 2012, much to the disappointment of conservatives. Republicans hoped that negative economic news would sweep them to victory, and exit polls confirmed that the economy, not health care, was the top issue. The best thing is to declare last year's election a mistrial on Obamacare."

A "mistrial?" The only way to call the 2012 election a mistrial on the Affordable Care Act is to ignore the 2012 election.

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

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