"Tea Party Patriot" & "Lifelong Republican" says he may vote for Clinton...over Obamacare

Yesterday a good half-dozen people sent me the link to this video, posted by a guy named James Webb a couple of days ago. Talking Points Memo gives an overview of the 3 1/2 minute clip:

"Hello, YouTube. I'm kinda having a difficult decision," Webb lamented in the 3-minute video. "I don't know which party to vote for. ... I don't know whether to go for a Republican or a Democrat -- and I'm serious. Because I asked myself, I said, 'Which party has helped me out the most in the last, I don't know, 15 years? Twenty?' And it was the Repub-, err, Democrat Party. The Democrats."

"I mean if it wasn't for Obama and that Obamacare, I would still be working," Webb continued. "With Obamacare, I got to retire at age 50. Because if it wasn't for Obamacare I would had to work till I was 65 and get on Medicare because health insurance is expensive."

Webb stressed how valuable it was that he'd been able to retire so early and still had health care coverage. He also noted that Obamacare reimburses him for his gym membership.

"It's some kind of healthy lifestyle plan, program," Webb said. "So I mean, you know, I got, I'm trying to work out and exercise a little bit and lose some weight 'cause I'm retired now. I got all kinds of time to go to the gym, swim, you know, lift a little weights, do some little walking, run track, stuff."

When I first watched this, I admit that my initial kneejerk reaction was to be a bit suspicious. It just seemed too perfect: A self-described "Hillbilly" (according to the titles of some of his videos), lifelong Republican, gun advocate (he hosts a gun show featuring the glory of automatic weapons), "charter member" of the Tea Party, etc etc etc, publicly and deliberately (not via a hidden mike or anything) stating that he's strongly considering voting for Hillary Clinton because of "Obamacare"?? And then going on to call out the Republican Party for "never doing anything for him"?

The thing is, there's only one part of what he actually says which raised any red flags (pun intended) for me: Touting the fact that he "gets to retire at 50" thanks to the ACA...is it possible that he's actually being sarcastic by invoking the tired (and largely false) "letting lazy people sponge off the hard work of others" cliché?

However, judging from everything else about the video, especially his demeanor, he seems to be a man going through a sincere crisis of conscience. He's clearly not in the best of shape, and it sounds like after actually enrolling in his new healthcare policy (he doesn't specify what sort of policy it is, but I'm assuming that it's a heavily-subsidized Bronze or Silver plan via the ACA exchange), it's started to dawn on him that maybe, just maybe the Affordable Care Act hasn't caused the earth to open up and swallow the nation whole.

I was actually reluctant to post about this, not because I thought the video was a hoax, but because I tried to put myself in Mr. Webb's position. I'm sure he's catching all sorts of holy hell from his family, friends and fellow Tea Party members for posting it; the last thing he needs is for me, of all people, to praise him for doing so.

However, the story is all over the place anyway, and he was clearly hoping it would go viral, so presumably he thought it through before making the decision to do so.

The one thing which I'm not doing is to warmly welcome him over to the Light Side of Progressivism and Liberalism and All Things Lefty. It would be incredibly presumptuous, premature and rather insulting to assume that he's going to suddenly abandon every belief that he's held up until now. People generally don't work that way. Just because he might vote for Hillary Clinton in hopes of preserving the ACA doesn't mean that he's going to do a 180° on other hot-button issues...and that's fine. He may end up backing off from his statement here (possibly scared off by the media exposure he's receiving right now) and decide to vote for the GOP candidate in 2016 after all. That'd be a shame, but again, he's clearly saying that he's torn about what to do, and I respect him for that.

It can't have been easy for Mr. Webb to do this, and assuming it isn't a hoax of some sort, I applaud him for doing so regardless of what he ultimately decides to do in 2016.

Here's the video itself: