[The] Affordable Care Act has become to the right a symbolic totem that has little to do with actual policies. Its very existence is an enduring emotional wound. Greg Sargent writes:
Consider this article by the Post's Amy Goldstein, which quotes a range of Tea Partyers talking about the repeal of "Obamacare" in fervent and even messianic tones. They are prepared to invest years in realizing this goal. It's clear that for an untold number of base GOP voters, major questions about political and national identity are now bound up in repeal. An entire industry has been created around this new Holy Grail. There is now a big stake for a whole range of actors, some less reputable than others, in keeping millions of Americans emotionally invested in the idea that total repeal is not only achievable, but absolutely necessary to preserving their liberty and the future of the republic.
---Jonathan Cohn via Brad DeLong