Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner has often disappointed conservatives with his willingness to make a deal with Democrats -- the debt ceiling deal and the phony spending "cuts" in the budget last year being two of the greatest recent disappointments.
After all of that, can conservatives trust John Boehner to actually deliver on his promises to repeal Obamacare?
This weekend Boehner appeared to stake his Speakership on actually carrying through on his promise to repeal Obamacare. “This has to be ripped out by its roots. This is government taking over the entire health insurance industry. The American people do not want to go down this path. They do not want the government telling them what kind of insurance policy they have to buy, and how much they have to pay for it, and if you don’t like it we’re going to tax you. It has to be ripped out and we need to start over. One step at a time.”
While the "one step at a time" caveat is something that conservatives may view with some scepticism, Boehner has now made the repeal of Obamacare the central work of the House Republicans between now and the end of the Obama presidency.
And symbolic votes are not going to meet that test.
House Republicans have already scheduled a vote to repeal Obamacare for July 11, but some kind of symbolic, CYA-type pre-election vote is not going to cut it with conservatives.
If Boehner is really serious about seeing to it that Obamacare is "ripped out by its roots," then he is going to have to keep at it and work to repeal the policy and defund the implementation of the law.
That is more than a "one vote and move on" effort.
Republicans must go through each of the 2000+ pages of Obamacare and identify every penny needed to implement the law -- and then strip that money from the budget. They also need to identify every mandate and requirment in the law -- and as Sarah Palin said, "rescind" them.
To us this sounds like a lot of work; a lot of committee hearings and a lot of floor debates and a lot of votes.
John Boehner's tough talk this past weekend was music to the ears of conservatives, “All it really does is strengthen my resolve and resolve of Republicans here in Washington to repeal this awful law, which is increasing the cost of health insurance for the American people and making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers.”
But can we trust him to go beyond the symbolic votes that the establishment's Republican Capitol Hill leaders all too often hide behind?
Time and again, conservatives have been disappointed by Speaker Boehner's tendency to back down or compromise with Democrats, to the point that we have little reason to believe him when he says he is going to fight for conservative principles.
The test of whether or not Speaker Boehner is serious about ripping Obamacare out by its roots is not the July 11 vote on the repeal of the Obamacare. That's nothing more than a pre-election stunt. The real test will come week-by-week as the House does the actual work of defunding Obamacare and repealing the mandates and penalites and replacing them with market-based reforms.
If we don't see that work going on over the next few weeks and months, then we will have no reason to believe the Speaker is really serious about ripping Obamacare out by its roots.