A superficial analysis of the House Republicans’ pledge to vote to repeal health care reform is that it’s nothing more than a symbolic gesture. While many might downplay their modest intellectual prowess, they must possess a rudimentary understanding of the basic institutional structure outlined in the very Constitution that they plan to patronizingly read on the floor of the House on Thursday, right? A slightly more charitable reading of this vote involves internal Republican politics: placate the lunatic fringe that got you elected prior to getting on with the real work of misgoverning.
However, as both the NYT article above and the Chait article in The New Republic cited in an analysis by The Democratic Strategist suggest, this presents an opportunity for the Democrats to take the initiative in framing the debate on favorable terms, for a change. Taken individually, many aspects of health care reform are popular. This can be exploited. Furthermore, the narrative of a party bereft of original ideas which seeks only to obstruct or destroy should be underlined. If properly framed and executed, this is a debate that the Democrats and the White House can and should win.
Will they? I wouldn’t bet on it, but I like to be surprised. If the Democrats do take advantage of this opportunity, it would afford a more colorful interpretation of the Republicans’ pissing in the wind.