All In   |  August 05, 2013

The self-sabotage of the latest campaign against Obamacare

The latest anti-Obamacare campaign has turned the corner from self-interest to self-destruction. Ezra Klein explains.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> you sir, are you tired of these government bureaucrats saying you should have health insurance if you get sick? are you offended by the idea of getting help if you can't afford health insurance ? do you want to take a stand? it's time to burn your obama care draft card .

>> we've decided that we're going to torch our own cards and we're going to take the fight against obama care into the streets.

>> that is a pitch freedom works is making to americans and it has just tiny little problem, there is no such thing. no such thing as an obama care draft card . there's not even an obama care card. there's no card, no paper at all. there is nothing to burn. so freedom works has had to make their own draft card . you print it out on the website and burn it yourself. so take a stand, good american by burning your freedom works provided obama care draft card that doesn't draft you to do anything.

>> burning the card is a symbol, of course, because there's no card yet. actually freedom works is going to design the obama care card ourselves, put that online, we're going to share it with people in the hopes they will burn it, tear it up mark on it, send it to the irs or congressman.

>> you make your own card to burn. the argument freedom works is making, people should refuse to be part of obama care. don't take free government health insurance if it is offered to you. say no. and if you say no and you get sick or get hit by a bus or you light yourself on fire while burning your self-printed obama care draft card , well, that is on you. this is a weird thing that's happened to the campaign against obama care. it began as most campaigns do as a campaign for self-interest. obama care conservatives said it'll raise your taxes and possibly put you in front of a death panel. the fight to keep it from passing was a fight to keep bad things from happening to you. but it's become something weirder. a campaign of self-sacrifice. the current crop of republican strategies ask conservative congressmen to hit their constituents. governors to hurt their states and conservative activists to hurt themselves. it is a kamikaze mission to stop obama care, a campaign against your own self-interest.

>>> take ted cruz and marco rubio 's effort to shut down the federal government unless the obama administration agrees to defund the signature piece of legislation. if they manage to gather enough support to make good on the shutdown threat, there is only a pain f painful -- on the republican party . they would have hurt their constituents and their chances of retaking the senate majority in 2014 and obama care, by the way, even if they got their way would still be implemented. and you don't have to take it from me. my " washington post " colleague charles krauthammer is about as antiobama care as they come. he wrote, if i thought this would work, i would support it. but i don't fancy suicide. it has a tendency to be fatal. in the states, republican governors are saying no to billions of dollars of medicaid money. and sometimes when they say yes and even some of the most conservative republican governors like rick scott in florida have realized what an obscenely good deal the money is and said yes. the republican state legislature say no anyway. that cuts the state off from very badly needed funds, cuts their poorest citizens off from free health insurance they could otherwise get. more over, means the safety net hospitals lose a huge amount of money they were relying on to survive. the result is a poor state, worse off residents and a health system under terrible, terrible financial stress. but at least they've taken a stand against obama care? then there's the campaign to persuade conservatives and everyone else to doom obama care by refusing to accept free or subsidized health insurance and instead pay the fine and go without coverage. the campaign's probably not going to be a huge hit among the broader public but it might convince hard core conservative activists who will go without health coverage they could have. some of them will get sick or hurt, then what happens to them? over the past couple of years, republicans have responded to minority status by adopting more extreme political tactics. chief among them is hostage taking , threatening to shut down the government or breach the debt ceiling if they don't get their way. but now republicans have done something truly new. they have taken themselves hostage. they're threatening to hurt themselves and their states and their voters and their most committed activists. if democrats don't give them their way on obama care. it's evidence of their extraordinary dedication of the cause to be sure. but also of their increasingly extreme view of how american politics works.

>>> coming up -- did allegedly takes performance-enhancing drugs help a-rod be a better baseball player? what proof do we have?