GOP senator: repeal ‘not going to happen’

GOP SENATOR: REPEAL ‘NOT GOING TO HAPPEN’…. The Republican message gets a little more muddled.

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker said Wednesday that Republican efforts to repeal sweeping health care reform are futile, and instead promoted incremental fixes in a wide-ranging talk in Nashville.

In the immediate aftermath of the reform’s passage, many of Corker’s Republican colleagues, including 2008 presidential contender Sen. John McCain, have pledged to repeal the legislation. Corker described that as unlikely, given the reality of needing 67 votes in the Senate to overcome a presidential veto of repeal legislation.

“The fact is that’s not going to happen, OK?” Corker told dozens of people at Vanderbilt University.

Corker’s remarks come on the heels of Sen. Richard Burr’s (R-N.C.) comments that he doesn’t see a full repeal as a realistic option, either. “It may not be total repeal at the end of the day,” Burr said in a radio interview. “It may be a series of fixes over the course of this bill getting enacted that allow us to change and possibly bend that cost curve down.”

This continues to be a real problem for Republicans, most of whom know they’re not going to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but a few too many of whom want to maintain the fiction to exploit gullible right-wing donors and manipulate easily-confused GOP voters.

But as we’ve seen repeatedly, Republicans are at their most effective when they’re on the same rhetorical page. Right now, their message is a mess — one large GOP contingent is promising to pursue a full repeal, even killing provisions that enjoy broad national support, while another large GOP contingent is arguing that the very idea is foolish.

Republicans are going to have figure this out eventually.

Keep in mind, when Corker asks, “The fact is that’s not going to happen, OK?” the response from the Republicans’ far-right base is, “No, it’s not OK.” The Club for Growth is still demanding a full repeal. Far-right blogs and talk radio are still demanding a full repeal. Newt Gingrich recently said on “Meet the Press” that “every Republican in 2010 and 2012 will run on an absolute pledge to repeal this bill.”

There’s some logic to the thinking — Republicans have spent the last year insisting that the Affordable Care Act will destroy the country. In March, several GOP leaders described the new law as “Armageddon.” More than a few prominent Republican voices have said the new law will literally lead to the deaths of innocent Americans.

With that in mind, when GOP senators suggest that some of Armageddon is probably fine, and that they’re not going to work to undo a law that’s the end of the world as we know it, the base is understandably unsatisfied.