Senator Jim DeMint said the other day that if the Republicans are able to stop the passage of health care reform in Congress, it will be Obama's Waterloo. "It will break him." Of course there is a natural desire on the part of the opposition to resist the administration's agenda, and much of this desire can be attributed to good faith policy disagreements.
But I am wondering why the Republicans think that stopping health care reform in particular is a good electoral strategy for them. If they succeed, what are they going to say in next year's Congressional election campaigns: "Vote Republican. We stopped health care reform, so Americans can continue to enjoy the health care system that they have"? The trouble with that message is that most Americans don't seem all that happy with the health care system that we have. If, on the other hand, Republicans have defined the health care battle as Waterloo, and Republicans fail in stopping health care reform, then maybe it is going to be the Republicans' Waterloo.
The ironic part is that President Obama never tried to make the health care debate into a battle. The President from the beginning offered the other side the full opportunity to participate in the process, and has already compromised his position (some would say too much) so that the resulting reform aims to satisfy all legitimate interests. It is the opposition that has defined the process as a battle which will have winners and losers. By raising the stakes, they seem to increased the chances that they will be the losers regardless of whether or not significant health insurance reform is enacted this year.