WBUR: Of course, there are ways to eliminate a law you don’t like in this country. You can gather the votes to repeal it, for instance, or challenge it in court. Conservatives have failed at both approaches. So they are now in the “shut down the government” phase.
If you’re like Ted Cruz, someone whose credibility depends on vilifying this law, the signs are not good.
If you step back from the situation for a sec, it’s a pretty brazen precedent. What’s next on the conservative repeal-or-we’ll-shut-the-government-down list: the New Deal? Civil Rights? Freeing the slaves? But here’s the thing about Cruz and his brethren: they are in a genuine existential pickle. Because the modern conservative movement, in particular the Tea Party, is built around a single notion: that government is the problem, not the solution.
This is what every major conservative policy argument eventually boils down to: starve the government and let the private sector (or “the markets”) solve the problem.It’s certainly true that Senator Cruz is using this issue to boost his profile for a 2016 presidential run. He is the current Republican front-runner. And it’s also true that many House Republicans are supporting the shutdown effort out of a raw political fear that if they don’t they will face a primary challenge next election.
But the ACA poses a far more fundamental threat to conservatives: it provides the American electorate definitive proof that the government can effect good on a mass scale. If the ACA becomes popular, it won’t just humiliate conservatives, it will expose the fallacy at the heart of their dogma. MORE