05/15/2012 06:10 pm ET Updated May 15, 2012

As GOP Backs Away From 'Repeal And Replace,' Media Remains Largely Inattentive

Over at Daily Intel, Jonathan Chait notices that after many months of vowing to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act, the GOP has applied Lean Six Sigma management efficiencies on their platform, or something, and are now vowing to do something much simpler:

One of the hard facts about public opinion during the health-care debate was that, while the public quickly soured on health-care reform, it remained quite sweet on the concept of health-care reform. This is why Republican opponents took care to insist at all times they only opposed the particulars of President Obama’s plan, and wanted instead to reform the system their way, with all the popular things and none of the unpopular stuff. Republicans declared they had a “moral imperative” to reform the system, robotically insisting their plan was not merely to repeal health-care reform but “repeal and replace.” As Jonathan Bernstein notes, just last January, Republicans in Congress promised to have their all-gain, no-pain alternative ready and raring to go for the summer so they could move if the Supreme Court overturned Obamacare.

But, in a development that received almost no attention at all, Republicans quietly conceded last week that they aren’t going to replace Obamacare at all.

As Chait notes, the news that the GOP had declared backsies ended up in the Hill, and there it successfully managed to avoid attention. Now on May 10th, the date the Hill's article appeared, most political reporters were fully esconced in reporting and analyzing President Barack Obama's marriage-equality evolution, and it was pretty adorable, during that time, to watch other news even try to happen. The one story that popped? Mitt Romney's marvelous misadventures as a prep-school bully-coiffeur. So it was an ideal time to quietly break a promise.

Nevertheless, it's awfully surprising that political reporters aren't hungry for an answer to, "What will you replace it with?" or I guess now, "Wait, so, you won't be replacing it with anything?" At the very least, it's odd that the question isn't being repeatedly posed to Mitt Romney. After all, he's the guy in the race who invented and implemented a health care reform plan as the governor of Massachusetts -- the accomplishment that paved the way for him to play politics at the presidential level in the first place. He's since had to disown that accomplishment, because it was borrowed wholesale to form the Affordable Care Act, but to my mind, that adds a dose of intrigue -- having created one health care reform plan, can Romney gin up another one?

It's a relevant question, because Romney has appeared on the stump in front of signs, bearing his campaign logo, that read "Repeal and Replace Obamacare." In one memorable instance, he did so during an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, who never thought to ask about it. At the time, I would have said that this merely demonstrates Blitzer's unique awfulness, but it appears that the rest of his colleagues have joined him. (Except for Jay Leno, remarkably.)

On Second Thought, GOP Will Just Repeal Obamacare [Daily Intel]

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