Sahil Kapur: McConnell’s Huge Obamacare Gamble Could End His Career:
Nobody was more responsible for making Obamacare a partisan bill than Mitch McConnell. During the grueling debate that began in 2009, the Senate minority leader worked diligently to ensure no Republican voted for health care reform…. Moderates like Maine’s Olympia Snowe… conservatives like Iowa’s Chuck Grassley… Utah’s Bob Bennett… [supported] an individual mandate. The White House and top Democrats spent months trying to win GOP votes, offering senators all sorts of enticements, but failed to overcome McConnell’s whip operation…. He also saw the value in campaigning against a partisan expansion of the safety net. The strategy worked wonders in 2010…. In a cruel irony reminiscent of Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein,” the monster McConnell created has turned against him and is threatening to end his political life.
The Kentuckian is now fending off a strong conservative challenger for re-election in 2014…. Matt Bevin is calling on McConnell to back up his fiery rhetoric against Obamacare by threatening to shut down the government…. Bevin has the backing of conservatives who are deeply committed to destroying Obamacare…. It defies logic to them that Republicans aren’t willing to temporarily shut down national parks and museums in an effort to thwart a law they insist is so destructive to the fabric of American society…. As punishment for resisting their Obamacare shutdown push, conservatives have likened McConnell to a “chicken”; they’ve released web videos attacking him for failing to lead; they’ve argued that he “owns” Obamacare if he allows it to be funded….
“McConnell is the Senate Republican leader but he refuses to lead on defunding Obamacare,” a narrator in the ad says. “What good is a leader like that?”… If they succeed, McConnell will… have given life to the creature that brought about his own demise. Obamacare could have been a… bipartisan expansion of the safety net, like Medicare and Social Security… modeled on conservative ideas constructed by the Heritage Foundation and first implemented by Mitt Romney…. But the GOP leader’s big gamble… precluded that scenario. And as a result, the health care law has become an existential threat to his career.