It’s now becoming clear that this could be a major issue for Republicans in 2010: the Tea Party movement, as well as high-profile conservatives, are going to demand that candidates call for a full repeal of the Dem healthcare reform bill, presuming it passes.
Multiple figures on the right are beginning to make this demand explicit.
In an interview with me just now, Max Pappas, the Vice President for Public Policy of Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks, said that if the bill passes, politicians should call for a full repeal.
“This has an unusual ability to be repealed, and the public is on that side.” he said. “The Republicans are going to have to prove that they are worthy of their votes.”
He emphasized that all the different parts of the bill fit together, and that Congress would need to try to repeal the whole thing.
This could put GOP candidates in a bind. We first reported that the Dem game plan in 2010 is to put politicians on the spot on this question, but Mitch McConnell this Sunday declined to go that far when Jake Tapper asked him if Republican candidates would call for full repeal. “There’s no question that this bill, if it were to become law, and frankly even if it doesn’t become law, will be a big, if not central issue not only in the 2010 election, but in the 2012 election,” he said.
That’s not good enough for right wing activists. Erick Erickson of redstate.org criticized McConnell for dodging the question. “Politicians should actually say ‘yes’ when they mean ‘yes’ and ‘no’ when they mean ‘no,’ instead of dancing around the issue,” he wrote.
Newt Gingrich threw down the same gauntlet on “Meet the Press” yesterday when he said, “I suspect that every Republican in 2010 and 2012 will run on an absolute pledge to repeal this bill.”
By insisting on ideological purity and making a bet that the bill will be universally unpopular, conservatives are leaving Republican candidates with no room for flexibility.
This one isn’t going away.