Republicans campaigned for repeal in 2012, but President Obama was reelected and Democrats gained seats in the Senate and the House and won the popular vote. Since the election, Republican governors have begun to embrace the law.Here in Washington, though, it is as though tea party activists are still marching on the Capitol. On Wednesday, Senate Republicans supported legislation proposed by the freshman Cruz to defund Obamacare — the 35th attempt, give or take, to abolish the program. This one failed, like all the others.Doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result, it has been said, defines insanity. But among Senate Republicans, the lunatics are running the asylum. A few of the most junior members, with support from conservative activists, are calling the shots, while the caucus’s nominal leaders, intimidated by the newcomers’ power, have become followers.This time it was the quixotic repeal effort by Cruz, who has been on the job for all of two months; McConnell made an unscheduled appearance on the Senate floor to associate himself with the doomed effort.Cruz, the 42-year-old junior senator from Texas who will be the keynote speaker at this weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference, was rallying his fellow Republicans in support of a dubious principle that implementing Obamacare means imminent economic ruin. “At a minimum, in my judgment, Obamacare should not be funded,” he said on the Senate floor, because “implementing it right now could well force us into a recession.” “At a minimum.” That’s the same phrase Cruz used last month to imply that Chuck Hagel, now defense secretary, was on foreign payrolls.At a minimum, Cruz is making Republican leadership look weak. Seniority has been tossed aside as McConnell of Kentucky and the No. 2 GOP leader, John Cornyn (Tex.), follow the cues of the junior senators from their home states, Paul and Cruz.The young Texan had managed to pull Senate Republicans even further to the right than their counterparts in the House, who opted not to seek a repeal of Obamacare in the legislation they just passed to fund the federal government. And House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget would repeal the health-care law but keep $1 trillion in tax increases associated with the program.
The GOP descent into utter insanity seems to be proceeding without let up. Of course, here in Virginia we have the equally insane and unhinged Ken Cuccinelli as the ostensible GOP standard bearer.