NEW YORK - This week's 21-hour, 19-minute soliloquy by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas apotheosized Republican dissatisfaction with "Obamacare." Likewise, the GOP House recently voted to finance everything in Washington, minus the Affordable Care Act.
A real surprise lies behind these headlines: Democrats are falling out of love with Obamacare.
Last year, according to a Washington Post-ABC News survey, 68 percent of Democrats supported Obamacare. By July 23, however, only 58 percent of Obama's fellow donkeys backed his chief initiative. Liberal Democrats' approval of this law rose from 74 percent in 2010 to 78 in July.
But moderate and conservative Democrats have fled on healthcare. In 2010, as Obamacare careened through a Democratic Congress, 76 percent of center-right Democrats cheered, while 20 percent hissed. By last July 23, only 47 percent of those Democrats endorsed Obamacare; 46 percent disapproved.
Fox News discovered that 56 percent of Democrats were "concerned" about their "personal health care under the new health care law," it reported Sept. 17. Forty-three percent disagreed.
Obamacare generates merely polite applause even among black Americans, the cornerstone of Obama's political base. "Eighty-seven percent of blacks approve of Obama's job performance overall," explained another ABC News-Washington Post study released Sept. 20. "But just 48 percent support his signature health care law."
This research echoes growing doubts about Obamacare among leading Democrats and the union bosses who love them.
-- "We've got millions of people -- working-class, middle-class people -- who are going to be pushed into a regulatory health coverage no man's land," Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., warned last Valentine's Day. "They are unable to afford the family coverage through their employer and ineligible for the subsidy that could be used by dependents on the exchange."
-- On March 21, 33 Senate Democrats voted for a non-binding resolution against Obamacare's medical-device tax. Illinois' Dick Durbin, Minnesota's Al Franken, and Maryland's Barbara Mikulski were among those who decried this job-killing, innovation-crushing 2.3 percent levy on the gross revenues, rather than profits, of health-implement manufacturers. On June 7, 2012, 37 Democrats and 233 Republicans backed a bill by U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., to kill this cruel, senseless tax.
-- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius conceded that Obamacare could cost people more money, not less. "These folks will be moving into a really fully insured product for the first time," she said March 26, "and so there may be a higher cost associated with getting into that market."
-- "I believe that the Affordable Care Act is probably the most complex piece of legislation ever passed by the United States Congress," Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va., lamented April 9. "Tax reform obviously has been huge, too. But up to this point, it is just beyond comprehension."
-- In an April 17 candor attack, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and a key Obamacare engineer, notoriously said: "I just see a huge train wreck coming."
-- Obamacare's Independent Payment Advisory Board "is essentially a health-care rationing body," former Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean, M.D., opined in July 29's Wall Street Journal. "... The IPAB will cause frustration to providers and patients alike, and it will fail to control costs."
-- "The ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40-hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class," Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa Jr. co-wrote in a July 12 letter to top congressional Democrats.
-- Terence O'Sullivan, president of the Laborers' International Union of North America, announced Sept. 11: "If the Affordable Care Act is not fixed, and it destroys the health and welfare funds that we have fought for and stand for, then I believe it needs to be repealed."
The fact that Democrats are cooling on Obamacare confirms that the GOP is perfectly right to hammer Obamacare mercilessly. Republicans relentlessly should showcase Democratic disenchantment with it.
The road away from Obamacare may be treacherous for Republicans. They should proceed wisely, but this is no time to go wobbly.
(Political analyst Paul Crespo furnished research for this article. Deroy Murdock is a columnist with Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with Stanford University's Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. Email Deroy.Murdock@gmail.com. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.shns.com.)