Politics of the possible?

Republican Washington, D.C., insiders have spent the past month wagging their fingers at Tea Party types and telling anyone who will listen that these people just don’t understand realpolitik and the "politics of the possible."

In a first reveal of what constitutes the Beltway Republicans' “possible,” Fred Upton, the inert chairman of the House Commerce and Energy Committee has introduced legislation to deal with the ObamaCare problem of the day: People are losing their health insurance due to regulations propagated by the Obama administration.

After bruising battles trying to stop, delay or defund ObamaCare, Upton’s politics of the possible is language that would allow, if they wanted, health insurers to continue to offer this year’s plans to customers next year.

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Apparently, rather than push for a real solution to ObamaCare now that some Democrats are approaching panic mode — their constituents and supporters are getting the higher premiums and dropped policies that the Ted Cruzes of the world tried to prevent — the possible-politics crowd is choosing to push legislation that delays the problem for another year and allows the politicians to blame the insurers when policies are canceled.

No one should be surprised by this “solution” offered by the man who sought to be Obama’s point man in reaching out to House Republicans. After all, the two things that there always seems to be a consensus on in D.C. is kicking the can and shifting the blame for problems caused by government.

Upton, whose main claim to fame is having a niece who has been on the cover of Sports Illustrated, is the head of the committee with oversight responsibility for the ObamaCare law. Yet he has been invisible in the debate on how to stop the law from destroying our nation’s healthcare system. 

The one law that Upton is most noted for passed when he was in the minority in 2007, as he led the charge to end the tyranny of the incandescent light bulbs. Yes, Uncle Fred is the guy who banned Edison’s better idea.

In a D.C. where the politics of the possible is really the politics of doing nothing, can there be any wonder why more and more Republican members are saying enough is enough and demanding real action on issues that their constituents sent them to D.C. to address?

The tepid response of the Speaker’s chosen leader on this issue is just one more piece of evidence of the division between official Republican Washington and the grass roots. 

At some point, the "politics of the possible" people will have to face voters and explain what their end game is to stop ObamaCare. If the Upton proposal provides any guidance, the ugly truth is they don’t have one and likely never will.

Manning (@rmanning957) is the vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government