A Washington Post-ABC poll published Tuesday found that almost half of Americans think Obamacare will result in an overall worse standard of health care in the country. And six in 10 believe it will mean higher overall costs. Seventy-two percent of voters who disapprove of the job President Obama, congressional Democrats and congressional Republicans are doing say they’d vote for the GOP candidate for U.S. House in their district if the election were held today. Just 14 percent say they’d vote for the Democrat.
Sounds like an amazing opportunity for the GOP, doesn’t it?
Well, it could be, if the GOP would just find a spine.
In reaching a bipartisan budget deal this week, the Republican leadership didn’t even touch Obamacare — a law so toxic that once enthusiastic Democratic proponents (with the notable exception of mouthpiece Rep. Deborah Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.) now refer to it only as the “Affordable Care Act.”
Conservatives immediately cried foul and Speaker John Boehner savaged them. Hang on. Isn’t Boehner supposed to be on the same side? Isn’t he supposed to be the one leading the opposition to Obamacare in the House? No less than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., praised Boehner for his outburst saying, “I think it was a breath of fresh air as far as I’m concerned.” Need we say more?
Now that liberal voters are actually feeling the effect of what and whom they voted for, they are feeling buyer’s remorse. A New York Times article recently detailed the woes of the creative community, including opera singers, artists and writers who were ecstatic about the prospect of health coverage for all, only to find that their own plans are being canceled and if they can find coverage, they’ll be paying more for less. One, a lifelong Democrat, said that if she had known what would happen to her, she would have voted for Mitt Romney. Another bemoaned, “We are the Obama people…But what is the reality of it?”
Contrary to what the mainstream media might have us believe, it’s not just the botched implementation of Obamacare that Americans are hopping mad about (remember that candidate Obama stated he’s a proponent of a single-payer system?), it is Obamacare itself. Why, oh why, is the GOP not capitalizing on this fact?
Knowing a political disaster when they see one and schooled in the art of self-preservation, Democrats are running scared and, as usual, counterattacking. Because they refuse to engage conservative principles on their merits, they turn to demagoguery and bullying.
If you are in favor of responsible government spending, vote for a conservative, or are against disastrous Democrat policies such as Obamacare, you are a hater. It’s the same old story with the caustic temper tantrums and verbal slings and arrows from the left.
But as Margaret Thatcher so wisely observed, “I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.” As she would have said, this is no time to “go wobbly.”
GOP leadership, here’s your golden opportunity, your time to stand up to the schoolyard bullies. Capitalize on the country’s discontent and build relationships with these disillusioned voters. Tap the enormous groundswell of opposition to Obama, Democrats and Obamacare. But first, do you understand why this is happening?
This is where finding your spine comes in. Voters no longer trust what they are hearing — from either side. They want to know that if they vote for you, you will in turn vote the way you promised you would.
People want to vote for something, not against something. What is the GOP offering potential voters? How about a viable alternative to Obamacare that doesn’t gut the system that was working for the vast majority of citizens but reforms things that could be improved, such as expanding health care savings accounts, portability, pre-existing condition coverage, and unleashing competitive market forces by making prices public and allowing cross border sales of insurance? Better yet, instead of always being on defense and letting the Democrats set the agenda, be proactive and get moving on things that would benefit all Americans, such as an energy bill.
GOP leadership, are you listening? Don’t blow it.