Show Us Your Plan, Republicans!

According to the latest Kaiser Family poll on health care, only one in five Americans support the Republican plan to repeal and delay a replacement for Obamacare.

According to Steven Dennis and Sahil Kapur, there are now four Republican Senators who have voiced strong doubts about repeal and delay: Rand Paul (R-KY), Tom Cotton (R- AR), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Corker (R-TN).

And now, President Obama has joined the chorus to call the Republicans on their bluff.

Put up or shut up.

President Barack Obama on Friday told Republicans they should be willing to present a replacement plan for Obamacare before they vote to repeal it.

And Obama also said he’d be willing to support killing his own landmark health-care law — which has expanded insurance coverage to 20 million Americans — if the GOP offers an improvement.

“I am saying to every Republican right now, if you can in fact put a plan together that is demonstrably better than what is Obamacare, I will publicly support repealing Obamacare” and replacing it with the GOP’s plan, Obama told Vox during a live-streamed interview from Blair House in Washington.

“But I want to see it first.”

That is quintessential Obama. Some liberals have winced when he does things like this. But I’ve always noted that it is (as Jonathan Chait once wrote) “conciliatory rhetoric as ruthless strategy.” Here is how Mark Schmitt described it years ago:

The reason the conservative power structure has been so dangerous, and is especially dangerous in opposition, is that it can operate almost entirely on bad faith. It thrives on protest, complaint, fear…One way to deal with that kind of bad-faith opposition is to draw the person in, treat them as if they were operating in good faith, and draw them into a conversation about how they actually would solve the problem. If they have nothing, it shows. And that’s not a tactic of bipartisan Washington idealists — it’s a hard-nosed tactic of community organizers, who are acutely aware of power and conflict.

Obama has heard all of the promises Republicans have been making about their ideas on health care reform. He’s saying, “Put up or shut up. Let’s see what you’ve got.”

So that’s the mantra now…show us your plan, Republicans!

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly and frequently blogs at Political Animal.