John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Star Wars Strategy

Posted on November 4, 2010
Star Wars is one of my favorite movies of all time, in the top five, no doubt.

It has action, adventure, romance, laser guns and of course, Darth Vader.   What is not to like?

The premise of the movie, as everyone knows, is that the Federation is doing battle with the Empire.  The Empire has built this huge Death Star, a mobile planet dedicated to destroying rebel planets.

The Death Star is an effective way to compel loyalty.   One of the leaders of the rebel party, Princess Leia, gets caught as she is trying to smuggle the architectural plans of the Death Star.  She puts the plans in the wiring of her loyal android, R2-D2.  Luke Skywalker rescues Leia and is able to get her and the android back to the headquarters of the Rebel forces, where they discover the weak link in the Death Star.  Luke then destroys the Death Start by sending a laser missile into that weak point.

The President’s health care bill is kind of like the Death Star.  It is a huge, massive bureaucracy that is slowly moving to destroy the private health care market in this country.

Republicans are vowing to attack the health care Death Star by attacking it the old-fashioned way, with repeal.  But the President can easily fend off that attack with one swipe of his veto pen.  They have also vowed to defund health care through the Appropriations process, a strategy that is never going to get through the Senate.

They should, instead, attack the weak point in this law, and then have the whole thing collapse as a result.   They should attack the individual mandate.

The individual mandate is constitutionally the most troublesome aspect of the health care law.  It is the most unpopular part of the law, especially among those who are going to be forced to join up.  It is the most significant challenge to freedom in this country.  And if the individual mandate is stripped from it, the whole law collapses.

Getting rid of the federal individual mandate unites the Tea Party, the Republican base, and independent voters.  It also is very attractive to younger adults and small business owners who don’t want the government telling them to buy something they can’t afford.

It also takes the other parts of the health care bill, the more popular parts, off the table.  Republicans won’t have to be on the defensive when it comes to the issue of pre-existing conditions or free physical exams for everybody.

Focusing on the individual mandate puts the President on the defensive and keeps him there.  It puts Senate Democrats on the defensive and keeps them there.

If the Democrats won’t accept repeal of the individual mandate, then the GOP can move to defund enforcement of the individual mandate.  If the government doesn’t have money to enforce the law, then it is effectively repealed.

Republicans should channel their inner Luke Skywalker when they think about how they are going to attack the health care Death Star.  The individual mandate is the weak link in this very unpopular law.