A Tea Party member reaches for a pamphlet titled "The Impact of Obamacare", at a "Food for Free Minds Tea Party Rally" in Littleton, New Hampshire in this October 27, 2012.
Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters

The scourge of ‘Atomic Obamacare’

The lines between satire and conservative political commentary can admittedly seem blurry at times, but this National Review piece yesterday is, as best as I can tell, intended to be serious. The author’s goal is to condemn the international nuclear agreement with Iran, but the more salient point is to draw a parallel between the diplomatic solution and the Affordable Care Act.
Much like Obamacare, ObamaNuke is a high-priority, highly convoluted, highly opaque mess that is being ramrodded through Congress by dodgy means, even as the American people overwhelmingly reject what is being barge poled down their throats.
“ObamaNuke,” the National Review headline insists, “really is an Atomic Obamacare.”
 
Incidentally, “Atomic Obamacare” is an excellent band name.
 
But I digress.
 
We talked a month ago about the scene in “Being John Malkovich” in which John Malkovich crawls into the head of John Malkovich (long story). Suddenly, he’s stuck in a nightmare in which Malkovich is everywhere and everything.
 
It’s striking the degree to which Republicans appear to be experiencing a similar nightmare, only instead of seeing an acclaimed actor everywhere, they see the Affordable Care Act, lurking in every corner, representing everything they abhor in all contexts.
 
Shortly after Hillary Clinton unveiled her plan to make college tuition more affordable, for example, Douglas Holtz-Eakin said, “It will be Obamacare for higher education.”
 
As regular readers probably recall, this comes up far more often than it should. Common Core standards are “Obamacare for K-12 education.” Net neutrality is “Obamacare for the Internet.” Dodd/Frank financial-regulatory safeguards are “Obamacare for banks.” Efforts to reduce carbon pollution are “Obamacare for energy markets.” A Senate proposal to consolidate government lending practices would be “Obamacare for real estate.”
 
An international agreement to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons is “Atomic Obamacare.”
 
No modern equivalence of this hysterical preoccupation comes to mind. It’s not as if Democrats ran around Washington in 2005 saying, “Bush’s scheme to privatize Social Security is the Iraq war for entitlements.”
 
Besides, the underlying complaint is baseless since the Affordable Care Act is working quite well, exceeding even most optimists’ expectations.
 
If there is a compelling parallel between “Obamacare” and the international nuclear agreement it’s this: Republicans abandoned rational thought in their contempt for the idea, and despite pleas for an alternative solution to an important pressing problem, they offered nothing but slogans and cheap talking points.
 
Five years later, every GOP prediction about the Affordable Care Act has been discredited and proven false. Here’s hoping, five years from now, opponents of the Iran deal appear equally foolish about the efficacy of the national security policy.

Affordable Care Act, Iran and Obamacare

The scourge of 'Atomic Obamacare'