As Jeffrey Anderson noted in this week’s issue of the magazine, the issue of Obamacare featured less conspicuously that one might have expected in the first Republican presidential debate. More broadly, the issue has been less central to the GOP primary campaign than one might have anticipated, given its prominence over the last few years and given how important Obamacare’s repeal is to the overall agenda of taking the country in a different direction. It’s true that almost all the candidates have been generally committed to repealing and replacing Obamacare; but one could say they’ve been a bit slow to lay out reasonably specific proposals.
Now Scott Walker has stepped up, putting forth a plan very much like the 2017 Project‘s repeal and replace plan. We’re biased, since we’ve been strong advocates of that plan (and I chair the 2017 Project), but Walker really does deserve considerable praise for laying out a proposal that is at once consistent with conservative principles and a credible replacement for Obamacare.
This is no small thing. The successful repeal and replacement of Obamacare would be a huge victory for American conservatism. It would be the greatest blow to the Left, and the biggest policy victory for the Right, certainly since welfare reform 20 years ago, and probably since Reagan’s reversal of tax policy in 1981. It would be a moment when conservatives move beyond slowing down the progress of the liberal welfare state and move toward executing a policy U-turn toward re-limiting government and empowering citizens. Walker’s proposal offers the prospect of the successful execution of such a U-turn. So Walker’s Obamacare proposal is about more than repealing and replacing Obamacare–important as that is. It’s about moving ahead in the next few years with an ambitious and practical conservative governing agenda.
The case for Walker has always been that he could deliver solid and tough-minded conservative governance, at once principled and realistic. His Obamacare proposal today makes that case concretely, convincingly and impressively.
© 2015 Weekly Standard LLC. Reprinted with permission.