Obamacare is no mere paper law. No indeed. For the GOP’s ideological Captain Ahabs, it has become a public-policy white whale, a leviathan that must be harpooned at any cost. So it is that the Tea Party types are now demanding that Republican officeholders resort to shut-down-the-government brinksmanship to slay the cetaceous statute.
For those with long memories, the spectacle can be amusing. A key piece of the Affordable Care Act is the requirement that those who don’t have health care coverage purchase a policy. That was once a credentialed conservative idea, an exemplar of personal responsibility popularized by the Heritage Foundation. From there, it became a Republican congressional alternative to Hillarycare and then the centerpiece of Romneycare, whose elaborate signing ceremony included a speaker from the conservative think tank.