**Posted by Phineas
Because taking pride of ownership in Obamacare worked so well for them in 2010:
Scarred by years of Republican attacks over Obamacare, with more in store next year, Democrats have settled on an unlikely strategy for the 2014 midterms: Bring it on.
Party strategists believe that embracing the polarizing law — especially its more popular elements — is smarter politics than fleeing from it in the House elections. The new tack is a marked shift from 2010, when Republicans pointed to Obamacare as Exhibit A of Big Government run amok on their way to seizing the House from Democrats.
But the Democratic bear hug, reflecting a calculation it’s probably impossible to shed their association with the law even if they wanted to, is still a high-wire public relations act. The White House has consistently struggled with messaging on Obamacare, hoping the public would gain an appreciation for the health care makeover as its benefits became apparent. That never really happened, but Democrats seem to be banking that it finally will.
Yeah, because the problem from their point of view is always the messaging: “if only we explained ourselves better, then the
rubes public would support our glorious ideas. Their lives are better, it’s just that they don’t know it. So we just have to fine tune our message and we’re back in business!” It’s never that their ideas stink like a fish left out in the sun, or that the public resents to the point of rage the way Obamacare was passed, as Moe Lane explains:
…the Democrats apparently have never really understood that the way that Obamacare was passed features prominently in the reason why it’s so unpopular among the rest of us. Politico’s vaguely revisionist history aside, the Democrats certainly attempted to tout Obamacare as being a net positive in the 2010 elections; what they failed to realize then – and, apparently, now – is that when you shove something down my throat, I don’t particularly care whether you think that it tastes great or not. What I care about is your callous indifference and unwarranted arrogance; and so it was with Obamacare. The Democrats ignored the opposition, ignored the populace, and even ignored the established rules to pass their walking monstrosity of a health care rationing system; and it is a measure of precisely how tone-deaf they were about the procedure that one of their leaders actually thought that it was smart to tell people that we had to pass the bill to find out what was in it.
And he’s right. Aside from the abomination of Obamacare itself, the way it was passed, not just unconstitutional but anti-constitutional (No time to read the bill, drafting sessions from which the opposition was excluded, insulting the public, deem and pass, reconciliation…), is offensive, infuriating, enraging, and a good part of the reason for the electoral bug-squashing the Democrats suffered in 2010. I can just see the Republicans dusting off the Pelosi videos now.
In spite of that, the Democrats think the strategy of defending Obamacare, tuning their message, and promising to fix the broken parts while keeping the parts people like will work. Politico, again:
“In 2010, the benefits of ACA were theoretical and Democratic candidates ran away from it. If you were in a tough race and asked about health care,” a senior Democratic official told POLITICO, “you changed the topic. In 2014, Democrats can talk about the positives, position themselves as consumer advocates to make it work and go on offense against Republicans for wanting to take the benefits away.”
A problem with this is that those portions people like, including things I find distasteful such as keeping “children” on the parents’ insurance until they’re 26, can be fixed to be more market-oriented and part of a repeal-and-replace bill that still guts the core of the PPACA, which progressives adore and the majority loathes: the hated mandate, the requirements to buy coverage you don’t need or want, and the new taxes.
Ah, yes. The new taxes and the increased premiums. Jim Geraghty tells us why that light the Democrats see at the end of the tunnel may instead be an oncoming train:
So . . . in 2014, just as premiums begin to reflect the changes of Obamacare, and in the year where the uninsured must start paying the government $95 or 1 percent of their income (whichever is higher) . . . Democrats have decided they’ll embrace Obamacare and make it a centerpiece of their reelection message.
The point is, starting in 2014, a lot of people who don’t have insurance and find the process of getting insurance immensely confusing and frustrating will suddenly be told they must pay the government for their failure to get insurance. And at that precise moment, Democrats will ask for their vote as an expression of gratitude.
That penalty will be enforced, collected by, and paid to the IRS, which has just been exposed as being quite willing to harass and punish law-abiding Americans for their political beliefs. And yet the Democrats want to remind voters of Obamacare and help the Republicans connect the two?
Genius. Brer Rabbit couldn’t have found a more attractive briar patch.
PS: For those under the impression that Pelosi and company might still have hit on a winning strategy, let’s take a walk down memory lane to see what happened the last time they told us how wonderful Obamacare would be. Have a look at the results for the House races, the Senate contests, and the state-level elections in 2010. To quote the Politico article again, “Bring it on.”
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)