Reform opponents can’t do it alone

REFORM OPPONENTS CAN’T DO IT ALONE…. Last week, in a variety of television appearances, Sen. Jim DeMint (R) of South Carolina said he’d like to see the health care reform push slow down. DeMint proceeded to tell a conservative conference call what he really hoped to accomplish: “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”

Today, RNC Chairman Michael Steele endorsed this approach.

At the end of the address he was asked by the Huffington Post whether he agreed with Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) assessment that health care reform could be Obama’s Waterloo — a chance for the Republican Party to break the president politically. “I think that’s a good way to put it,” he responded.

There seems to be a pattern. If the right can force a delay, then the right can defeat reform and deliver a serious blow to the White House. It’s the strategy GOP consultant and CNN personality Alex Castellanos presented for his party: “If we slow this sausage-making process down, we can defeat it.”

Bill Kristol is obviously on board with this, saying today there will be “plenty of time to work [on health care] next year,” just so long as Republicans “go for the kill” now.

The strategy is surprisingly transparent — slow things down, kill real reform, crush Obama.

Now, as a tactical matter, this makes sense. DeMint, Steele, Castellanos, and Kristol are Republicans, who a) don’t support health care reform; and b) are committed to undermining the majority party and the president. Opposition parties are supposed to oppose, so these characters are playing their appropriate role. (The real-world consequences for Americans and their families would be devastating, of course, if the GOP approach is successful, but I’m speaking only to the political strategy.)

I just like to point out, from time to time, that these folks can’t succeed on their own. They simply don’t have the votes. They can call for delays, changes, watered down bills, obstructionism, etc., but Democrats are in a position to finally reform health care anyway.

The only way for this Republican strategy to succeed — literally, the only way — is for Democrats to help them. The GOP has its plan, but no way to execute it effectively. They’ve already been turned out by the electorate.

Success or failure of health care reform will be dependent entirely on whether members of the governing party side with members of the minority party.