Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Advice to GOP voters regarding Obamacare

Egads, I am writing about horse race politics. If this keeps up, take me out back and put me out of my misery. But allow me this one post.

We have learned, or at least been reminded of late, that the executive branch wields vast power, especially via the "permanent government" in the regulatory agencies. A determined president -- and Barack Obama is nothing if not that -- can inflict so much hope and change by fiat that neither the courts nor Congress can possibly keep up. Whether one is an economic conservative, an "American greatness" conservative, or a social conservative, the power of the executive branch overwhelms the other two in its consequences. The Republicans could control most state governments -- oh wait -- and most people could live in states under partial or complete GOP governance -- oh wait -- and the right could dominate the United States Congress, and still the government that matters can move the country's actual policies sharply to the left. And never mind that the federal judiciary will also flip left if the Democrats win a third consecutive term, even if the GOP retains control of the Senate. The White House is the whole game. It is therefore more important to win the White House than any other branch of government, or any other part of the federal system.

Sadly, the Democrats seem to understand this, and the Republicans do not. The evidence for the latter is not to be found in immigration policy, or intransigence on marriage rights for gays, or the campus "rape crisis," or the argument over police practices, or in any of the other subjects that dominate the Googles on any given day. On these topics, I strongly suspect the left is peaking too soon, and they will not motivate many voters come 2016. Rather, the GOP will in all likelihood lose the White House because the swelling horde of candidates for the Republican nomination is forced, by the impracticality of its own primary voters, to entrench around one particular policy position that will cost Republicans the general election. This is indisputably the conservative insistence that the Affordable Care Act be "repealed" in some way, shape, or form. David Frum -- yeah, yeah, I know, but he can still be right -- is pretty good on this point in a short post at The Atlantic:

I’m going to put down a marker here. The next presidential election, like the last, will be decided by whether Democratic-leaning groups show up at the polls in large numbers—and maybe, at the margins, by whether the last few single percentage points of undecided voters choose “change” or “more of the same.” For those economically stressed toss-up voters—for the younger voters who sometimes show up and sometimes vote—the tipping point issue won’t be foreign policy. It won’t be ethics. It won’t be healthcare. It won’t even be the overall performance of the economy, which will be better, but still unwonderful. It will be that single haunting question, “Will I lose my insurance?”

If they don’t hear a clear and convincing “No,” they’re going to assume the answer is “Yes”—and most likely, vote accordingly.

Frum is right. If the GOP cannot nominate a candidate without first making it impossible for that candidate to answer the insurance question emphatically "no," then that candidate will almost certainly lose. Why? Because there are too many people who feel insecure about their ability to pay for their own health care or that of a loved one. It does not matter that Obamacare is bad policy incompetently enacted and dishonestly implemented. It only matters that critical states are closely divided, and that -- as Frum proposes -- for those voters who are nervous about their ability to afford health insurance no other issue will come close. Beware and denounce, therefore, any candidate who tries to force upon the others any "pledge" that "if elected" Obamacare will be "repealed," "replaced," or so much as tweaked. All GOP candidates should repeat, endlessly and without variation, "if you have insurance today, you will have insurance after I'm elected." If absolutely forced to say more, perhaps "because consistency" or some other fool reason, just assert "our national experience is that all complicated laws can be improved after they are implemented, and all the litigation and confusing regulation around Obamacare suggests that it is no different." End of freaking story.

Then, if you are elected and blessed with a huge majority in Congress, do what the hell you want to do. That is exactly what the Democrats did in 2008, and it bought them eight years in the White House and the United States all the hope and change it could possibly endure.


"The Hammer" said...

So what Frum, and I suppose you are saying is that Millennials care about health insurance? According to Frum 18 to 32 year olds just starting out in life are saying to themselves "Gee, I hope I can get health coverage and then it's all downhill from there".
Krishna H. Vishnu! ARE YOU KIDDING!!!? They don't give a damn about health insurance, they want JOBS! They want to move out of mom and dad's basement, get a cool ride and have money in their pocket. The idea that they will vote because of Obamacare is ludicrous and Frum epitomizes the brain-dead Republican consultant class that has NO BUSINESS near an honest to goodness conservative.
Keep listening to idiots like Frum and your children's children will be speaking spanish and picking oranges for a living.

TigerHawk said...

The problem is, the status quo ante was also ridiculous. Our system was (and sadly still remains) unsustainable, because demographics. The GOP has sadly remained devoid of ideas for fixing it, so the Democrats, when they had their one shot, took it. Now, there are millions of people who were able to get health insurance for the first time, and anything that *appears* to take it away will probably be enough to tip the close states. As for your point about jobs, very, very, few voters understand that connection. What they will understand is that they might lose their health insurance.

"The Hammer" said...

Well to paraphrase Pat Buchanan, either Republicans will do something about "demographics" or demographics will do something about Republicans.
The limp -dick establishment Republicans have not made the connection between jobs and Democrat policies. Rather than pound away at the fact many young people are unemployed with often times thousands in education debt, they have allowed the media to control the narrative.
Get a winning message, stay on on message and pound away. Believe you me, the steady drip drip drip of conservative solutions will finally and inevitable permeate those hard 20 something skulls and they will begin to get it. But not with girly men like Frum whispering in our ears.
Grow a fucking pair whydontcha?

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