Norm Ornstein, a congressional expert and scholar at the conserative American Enterprise Institute, criticized GOP leaders' efforts to "sabotage" Obamacare as "sharply beneath any reasonable standards of elected officials."
In a National Journal colum titled, "The Unprecedented—and Contemptible—Attempts to Sabotage Obamacare," Ornstein said the GOP anti-Obamacare effort is "spinning out of control" and "simply unprecedented."
He noted that after President Bush enacted the Medicare prescription drug benefit in 2003, Democrats worked with Republicans to improve it and help seniors rather than attempting to tarnish it for political gain.
Even when Democrats opposed the Iraq war, he said, "they did not try to sabotage the surge" because "[t]o do so would have been close to treasonous."
But to do everything possible to undercut and destroy its implementation—which in this case means finding ways to deny coverage to many who lack any health insurance; to keep millions who might be able to get better and cheaper coverage in the dark about their new options; to create disruption for the health providers who are trying to implement the law, including insurers, hospitals, and physicians; to threaten the even greater disruption via a government shutdown or breach of the debt limit in order to blackmail the president into abandoning the law; and to hope to benefit politically from all the resulting turmoil—is simply unacceptable, even contemptible. One might expect this kind of behavior from a few grenade-throwing firebrands. That the effort is spearheaded by the Republican leaders of the House and Senate—even if Speaker John Boehner is motivated by fear of his caucus, and McConnell and Cornyn by fear of Kentucky and Texas Republican activists—takes one's breath away.