FOR many supporters of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, continued resistance to the law isn't just mistaken. It's downright pathological.
They view it this way: Republicans were within their rights to oppose the law while Congress was debating it, but fighting it three years after it was enacted, and more than a year after the Supreme Court ruled it constitutional, is extreme and dangerous.
Republicans are "sabotaging" and trying to "nullify" a democratically passed law.
It's true that because the elections turned out the way they did - with President Barack Obama re-elected and a Democratic majority in the Senate - Obamacare will almost certainly stay on the books for the next few years.
It's also true that, as one might expect in such a heated debate, opponents of the law have sometimes used unwise tactics, hyperbolic language and false claims in attacking it.
If you want to say that trying to stop Obamacare by shutting down the government or hitting the debt ceiling is a terrible idea, you'll get no argument from me.
But there's nothing wrong with continuing to resist Obamacare even though it has been on the books for three years.
What would be strange is if Republicans ended their opposition to it. The law was, after all, passed over almost-unanimous Republican objections.
Other large government programs haven't seen as sustained a campaign against them, but they had more bipartisan support at the outset. Obamacare was unpopular with the public when it passed, and it has only become more so.
Republicans generally think it will have bad effects on the economy and on health care. And it isn't yet entrenched. Why wouldn't they keep opposing it?
Most of what the law's supporters call "sabotage" is perfectly legitimate political action. Obamacare's architects envisioned a lot more cooperation from state governments than they've gotten so far.
But the law allowed states to refrain from setting up insurance exchanges and from expanding Medicaid. States that exercise those options aren't disobeying the law or even sabotaging it; they're just making choices that the law's supporters wish they would not.
State governments can even (as some have) make it illegal for their officials to participate in Obamacare. That's not "nullification"; it doesn't require state officials to break any federal law.
Obamacare's critics are actually doing a better job of obeying the legislation than the administration itself, which has repeatedly found creative ways around the law's requirements or just acted as though it says things it does not say.
Obamacare doesn't authorize the federal government to offer tax credits and impose certain penalties in states that have opted not to create exchanges. The administration is nonetheless barreling ahead as though it does.