Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and his allies are right about Obamacare. They’re right that it’s bad for our economic prospects, our health care, and the relationship between our citizens and the federal government. They’re right to make the case against it — as Senator Cruz just did for 21 hours, in a magnificent performance that makes us glad to have backed his primary campaign. They’re right, finally, that Republicans need a strategy for repealing it. And they’re right that Republican leaders have not come up with one.
We wish we could say that Cruz and his allies have devised a workable strategy of their own. Instead, they want Republicans to refuse to vote for any legislation to fund the government unless it includes language denying funds to Obamacare. And if Democrats reject that condition and the government shuts down, Republicans should blame them for the shutdown and make the case against Obamacare until the Democrats relent. The history of the shutdowns of 1995–96 — the real history, that is, not the revisionist version that some advocates of this strategy have persuaded themselves to believe — suggests that this plan is unlikely to work. It could even help President Obama, whose numbers have been falling all year, to make a comeback that will give a lift to his entire agenda.