Trick question: How many times have House Republicans voted to repeal, dismantle or defund parts or all of the Affordable Care Act or, as they like to call it, Obamacare?
If your answer is 30, you're a political junkie or maybe psychic. And even though the Supreme Court has spoken and upheld the law as constitutional, on Wednesday the House will for the 31st time vote on a bill to repeal health care reform. According to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the "real outcome" of the court's decision was to "strengthen our resolve."
Democrats have denounced the vote and the time that will be spent debating it as yet another political antic that takes their focus off of more important legislation that could actually create jobs. There's also the fact that although the bill will likely pass, largely along party lines, it is DOA in the Senate and the White House has issued a veto threat.
So, why bother?
According to George Mason University political scientist Michael Fauntroy, the move is a political exercise to keep the Republican base strong and attract wavering independents by demonstrating that they're continuing the fight to overturn Obamacare.
"I just think it's a colossal waste of time. In some respects it's political game-playing," he added, particularly since deep down inside some Republicans support some of the law's provisions.
Fauntroy suspects that the GOP doesn't really want to see the law repealed because then they'd have to come up with an alternative and "any responsible plan would have to include provisions that they want to overturn."
David Axelrod, President Obama's senior campaign advisor, told BET.com that the repeal vote is a "political stunt" and that the American public doesn't want to "refight this fight and they don't want time wasted when we have real challenges that we have to meet with our economy, creating jobs and rebuilding the middle class."
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that American views on the Affordable Care Act are split. About 42 percent approve of the Supreme Court's ruling, while 44 percent oppose it. However, 47 percent view the law favorably, up from 39 percent in April, while 47 percent are still opposed. That's good news for the White House but both the administration and the president's re-election campaign still have a lot of work to do on its sales pitch.
Fauntroy, echoing sentiments of many politicians and political observers, including those who support the law, said "there's no question that the administration has done a poor job of explaining and selling" health care reform, which "emboldens" the opposition.
In the end, the law's ultimate fate will likely depend on which party's resolve is stronger.
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(Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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