Greg Sargent at the Washington Post reports that if the Republicans take control of the Senate, which looks increasingly likely, “Ted Cruz, the leader of the Ted Cruz Wing of the GOP, is already claiming the results should embolden the GOP to keep up the crusade to repeal Obamacare.”
I can think of a potential new senator, whose victory also looks increasingly likely, who might join the Ted Cruz wing. After all, Cruz fanboys the Club for Growth and Heritage Foundation are major financial backers of Tom Cotton. Cotton had his feet firmly planted in the Hell No Caucus in the House, and backed shutting down the government to try to stop Obamacare.
Tom Cotton is a Ted Cruz Republian. Will Cotton join Cruz in his crusade? More specifically, Cruz told the Post he wants both root-and-branch repeal votes (which would mean repealing the private option) and piecemeal votes on the law’s component parts (presumably including Medicaid expansion, which would mean repealing the private option).
Republicans should “pursue every means possible to repeal Obamacare,” Cruz said, including forcing a vote through parliamentary procedures that would get around a possible filibuster by Democrats. If that leads to a veto by Obama, Cruz said, Republicans should then vote on provisions of the health law “one at a time.”
Cotton, of course, has absolutely refused to answer questions about the fact that his policy goal is to end the private option. He refuses to take a position on the private option (even though his voting record and stated policy goals are clear — he would repeal the private option and cut hundreds of billions from Medicaid and ARKids on top of that). He has offered up irrelevant word salad and won’t discuss what happens to the 200,000 Arkansans who would lose coverage. He has hedged and bobbed and weaved and dodged and done everything he can to avoid a position on the most important policy issue in the state of Arkansas today.
But once he gets to the Senate, the rubber meets the road. Cruz wants to take a by-any-means necessary approach to ending Obamacare and ending the private option. Will Cotton join him? Will Cotton try to force votes to kill the private option in Arkansas? Force a shutdown of the government to kill the private option in Arkansas? We already know that Cotton takes pride in a my-way-or-the-highway approach that ignores the parochial interests of Arkansas and Arkansans. Will he take a principled stand to try to kick 200,000 Arkansans off their health insurance?
One possibility is that Cotton has actually been b.s.-ing the GOP base during this election, paying them lip service on repealing Obamacare even though he knows he doesn’t really have a path to do so. But another possibility is that all of his cartoonishly evasive dodging on the private option is because he simply didn’t have the political guts to own up to his convictions in the middle of a tight campaign. Once he’s in office, all bets are off.