The House just sent the American Health Care Act to the Senate. From there, it’ll face a tougher fight through Senate revisions before reaching the President’s desk. For the the first time in seven years, the prospects of repealing Obamacare are actually pretty high. Republicans around the nation are cheering. Democrats are spinning it as a call to retake Congress in 2018.

Most of my friends are Republicans, as are most of the readers on this site. I support their desire to rid the nation of the abomination of Obamacare. I also respect the need to put the GOP stamp of approval on a replacement plan. Heck, there are a couple of things in the AHCA that I don’t mind; it’s a slight improvement over the ACA.

One thing I wholeheartedly disagree with is the notion that the AHCA is a step towards smaller government. This does nothing to rein in DC. It keeps the national government firmly entrenched in an area where it absolutely, positively does not belong. By doing so, it prevents the free market from helping millions of Americans by driving down health insurance costs. It adjusts the mandate by shifting the penalty, but the mandate remains nonetheless. It gives states the option to opt out of pre-existing conditions, yet no state will actually use this option. Why? Because by giving the AHCA the GOP stamp of approval, any hope of educating people on the vast negatives associated with the pre-existing conditions clause have evaporated.

It isn’t just the AHCA. Look at the spending package that keeps the government funding President Obama’s sustained laundry list of programs. Look at pushes for huge infrastructure spending. Look at every big government program that is not facing extinction despite the GOP having full control in DC.

As a Federalist, I look at today’s GOP the same way many politically savvy conservatives view it: better than the Democrats. After the rise and fall of the Tea Party as well as a short-term spike in conservatives winning primaries over moderates, we’ve seen the status quo of the Establishment reaffirmed in 2017. The AHCA is just the latest example.

These are unpopular notions to be posting on sites that are supportive of the Republican Party, but I’m not alone in my dissent. Conservative pundits and Federalism-minded journalists around the nation are speaking out.

Ben Shapiro at Daily Wire notes:

On Thursday, House Republicans prepared to take final ownership over Obamacare, slapping a giant “T” atop the edifice of legislative manure and declaring victory. This follows Republicans embracing Barack Obama’s budget priorities in their newest budget bill, which did not fund Trump’s wall but did fund refugee resettlement, Planned Parenthood, and Obamacare. Republicans have apparently become the David Copperfield of garbage: they can take Obama’s garbage and turn it into Trump’s garbage right before your eyes!

Mark Levin has been very critical of the GOP on his show lately:

“Too many conservatives have simply accepted as effective power the minor concession of the progressives” as they “drive the political and cultural agenda,” Levin explains.

Andrea Ruth at RedState supports the bill, but only because not passing it would make the GOP look worse than it already does:

Voters first gave them the House immediately following the passage of Obamacare. Republicans subsequently show-voted on repealing Obamacare more than 50 times in the following six years when they knew such a bill would never be enacted while a Democrat was in the White House.

Noah Millman at The American Conservative isn’t supportive at all:

By their own repeated admission, the GOP leadership has no actual policy goal of any kind. They promised something. They have to deliver something — even if that something is wildly unpopular, satisfies nobody, and bears almost no relation to what they originally promised.

I believe in my heart that many Republican voters still believe in the type of small-government Federalism that Ronald Reagan espoused. It’s not their fault that a majority of Republican representatives view “smaller government” as a catchphrase in their campaign sales pitch instead of a goal. However, don’t try to convince me that they’ll come around eventually. Accept that they’re the big-government Democratlite Party so we can work together to really rein in DC.

My latest for Watchdog.org notes one type of change that Barack Obama has managed to create unity in suspicion in government:

In 2015 America, widespread united public suspicion of these tactics may seem natural, but what I find striking is how much of a contrast this is, not just from the days of my youth, but to the recent past.

Even during the Bush years while the left was screaming repression all over media (without grasping the irony of it) a large segment of the public still trusted authority….

Then came the Obama administration’s use of the IRS against the tea party, the spying on reporters, the lies concerning Obamacare, Fast and Furious and Gunwalking, the spy revelation on allies and a Justice Department willing to use their powers to inflame situations to their political advantage in Florida and St Louis while finding no interest in groups like the New Black Panthers in Philly and racial incidents in cities like Memphis and Lansing.

You can read the rest here.