Thiessen’s bad advice

THIESSEN’S BAD ADVICE…. Former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen, now a Washington Post columnist, tore himself away from misleading arguments in defense of torture, and is now pressing Republicans on repealing the Affordable Care Act.

In his latest piece, Thiessen complains that “Democrats rammed Obamacare through Congress” — I guess some silly talking points never get old — and expresses his concern that “some Republicans are losing their nerve on repeal.”

Obama and the Democrats are betting that, while the bill may be unpopular, they can win in November by focusing on specific provisions. They will tell voters Republicans are working with the insurance industry to bring back discrimination for preexisting conditions, let insurers cancel your coverage retroactively if you get sick and restore lifetime limits that deny you care when you need it most.

This is the Democrats’ best play, but Republicans need to recognize how weak the Democrats’ hand really is. First, most of the benefits in the bill don’t kick in until 2014 — three election cycles from now. The charge that Republicans are “taking away your benefits” will hardly ring true for Americans who don’t yet enjoy those benefits.

The rest of the column reads a bit like a caricature of predictable far-right palaver. Thiessen uses the word “Obamacare” seven times; he warns of Democrats trying to “transform our country in the image of Europe”; and he urges Republicans to simply follow the strategy presented by disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. After all, he “led the successful Republican takeover of Congress before.”

As Thiessen sees it, all Republican candidates have to do is promise to repeal all of the Affordable Care Act, including the parts Americans like. Then, there will be a GOP majority in both chambers. When President Obama vetoes their attempts to turn back the clock, Republicans will win the White House in 2012 and everything will be wonderful again.

Please. I can only hope there’s a Post editor somewhere with his head in his palms, saying, “Why are we paying this guy for columns?”

There’s no real point in debunking the entire ridiculous column, sentence by sentence, but I’ll just emphasize one key element: Thiessen is convinced “most” of the ACA benefits “don’t kick in until 2014,” so Republicans will pay no price for promising to scrap the legislation immediately.

But Thiessen’s wrong — this year, the Affordable Care Act extends all kinds of new consumer protections to millions of American families, creates new tax breaks for small businesses, offers new coverage for children, restricts rescission policies, eliminates annual and lifetime caps, prohibits arbitrary premium increases, and new coverage for preventative care, among other things.

Thiessen is absolutely convinced that Americans will applaud Republicans for promising to get rid of all of this a year from now. There’s a very good reason Democrats are anxious to see them try.