What's the GOP's "Fairness for All" Campaign All About?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 22 2013 5:28 PM

What's the GOP's "Fairness for All" Campaign All About?

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In all fairness, this is Florida Rep. Steve Southerland.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Randal Yakey reports from Florida Rep. Steve Southerland's post-shutdown town hall meeting. Southerland, the sherpa of TANF reform in the House, barely won in 2010 and 2012, and an expanded Democratic map in 2014 would probably include his district. Local TV news coverage included no actual questions to the congressman, focusing instead on how the audience was loud.

In print coverage, it's interesting to see Southerland hew so closely to the official message.

At one point in the meeting, local resident Tom Hails stood to clarify his question about shutting down the government in protest over the health care law. Southerland said the government was shut down, in part, because the ACA passed by the House, Senate and signed by the president was not the same law that has been enacted.
“When do the American people have to honor a law which is not the law that passed?” Southerland asked.
Hails said presidents “over time” have changed laws.
Southerland responded, “Mr. Hails, that sounds more like a king than a president.”

What is Southerland talking about? The current, last-ditch Republican talking point for the unreasonableness of the Affordable Care Act is that the employer mandate delay was an illegal sop to special interests, and that the least the president could do would be to delay the mandate for individuals. Oh, not that him doing that would be legal. The #FairnessForAll hashtag is designed to convince Americans to be outraged by this.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.