Warning for GOP: Today is Not Tomorrow

As the health care reform debate moves on to the Senate after today’s signing of the House bill by President Obama, Republicans are boldly claiming that passage of reform legislation will play a major role in the 2010 elections. Efforts are already underway, including here in Colorado, to legally challenge the legislation on a state by state basis. Republicans are trying to tap into the anger of their base in hopes that it will propel them to election success in November.

To which we say: Hold on there, Tiger.

This warning may sound overly simple, but the fact remains that “today is not tomorrow.” Let us explain, as we think back to a post last week from The Washington Post blog “The Fix“:

All sides agree that the overall bill is not particularly popular at the moment [Pols emphasis]. Republicans ascribe that unpopularity to the fact that people know what’s in the bill and don’t like or want it. Democrats see the current poll numbers as evidence that they have lost the message war in the run-up to passage but once the bill moves through Congress and people become more educated about the legislation, the more they will like it.

“The Fix” goes on to discuss some key findings from a poll done in 92 Democratic districts (“a mix of top Republican targets, moderate/conservative Blue Dogs and rural seats”), which shows:

  • Nearly six in ten (59 percent) of voters in these districts support the idea of reforming the health care system and roughly that same number believe that the changes need to be made now.
  • While 42 percent of voters in these districts initially support the health care bill that number jumps to 51 percent “after hearing about some of the benefits of the plan.”
  • As “The Fix” wrote last week, The White House has long believed that passage of health care reform legislation will fundamentally alter public opinion. We tend to agree with that sentiment, because all of the polling done to this point has taken the pulse of an electorate that was so confused about what might or might not be in the bill that there was no way they could respond accurately. Furthermore, a recent CNN poll showed that 13% of Americans disliked the bill because they didn’t think it was liberal enough.

    Our point is this: What do you suppose the polling is going to say in two months when pollsters can ask straight-up questions like, “How do you feel about the health care reform bill that a) stops insurance companies from barring people with pre-existing conditions, b) extends coverage to 32 million Americans, and c) significantly reduces the federal deficit?” We don’t think we’re going out on a limb by saying that the results of that poll are going to be pretty positive.

    Of course, a lot can change between now and November, but Republicans should be careful about banking on an anger over health care legislation that for months was just a neverending mishmash of rumors and scary talking points. Now that the bill is done — now that Republicans can’t excite people about what might be in a reform bill, but instead can only talk about what is in the bill — the task of using health care reform as a way to victory in November is decidedly different. Voters may find pieces of the legislation that they are unhappy with, but by and large most of them aren’t going to dislike the idea, for example, of ending restrictions on pre-existing conditions.

    The Republican strategy on health care reform was always about saying “NO” to everything and trying to get the whole thing killed so that they could simultaneously attack Democrats for bad legislation and an inability to get things done. That strategy doesn’t work now, not in the same way at least, and there’s a good chance that the majority of voters will actually be happy about the reform bill by the time September rolls around.

    15 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

    1. RedGreen says:

      about what might be in a reform bill, but instead can only talk about what is in the bill

      You really think the misinformation machine will suddenly grind to a halt now that the bill is law? You’re so optimistic, Pols …

      • Just because the bill is law doesn’t mean the Republicans alter their “facts”.  We’ll still be seeing “represents a government takeover of 1/6th of the nation’s GDP” and “death panels” and “cuts Medicare benefits”.

        We’re seeing calls to elect enough Republicans to repeal the bill from folks like Cory Gardner, who obviously don’t understand the basic mechanics of vetoes and Senate elections – hint, it takes 67 votes to overturn the veto, and there aren’t enough Senate Democrats up for election in 2010 to even theoretically get you there…

        Reality isn’t a prime factor in determining today’s Republican leaders, nor is distinguishing reality from the stuff coming out of Republican mouths necessarily a prime attribute of people pulling the GOP lever on election day.*

        * For some people, yes; they put up with the BS and vote ‘R’ because they feel it’s better than ‘D’.  But for many others, they suck in whatever right-wing propogands says and spit it out without thought.

        • Aristotle says:

          I know that it’s worked well for the GOP in the not-too-distant-past, but at this point letting them lie is just giving them enough rope with which to hang themselves. There’s plenty of time between now and November for the facts about this legislation to come clear, and the blathering on the right will only make more moderates vote Dem.

          I’ve no doubt that the Dems will lose seats. Yesterday someone posted the years that the party in the White House gained in Congress, and there was something pretty extraordinary going on each year. The only extraordinary condition this year is that the entire GOP is swinging so hard to the right, refusing to cooperate that, IF coupled with a dramatic rise in Obama’s popularity (something I don’t predict), would be about the only set of conditions that would lead to Dem gains this midterm.

          But the GOP is going off the deep end. They work for Fox News and the wingnuts, not the other way around, and there just aren’t enough of them to gain anywhere except in places like CD4. (I’m hopeful Rep. Markey will win reelection, but I won’t bet anything but some donations to her warchest on that outcome.)

          The GOP is disintegrating.

      • Republican 36 says:

        now we have a statute that says what it says and I’ve always found that once facts, ideas or thoughts are put in writing, whether in a statute or a memorandum or written opinion, they become pesky realities that undermine those who want to misinterpret them or assert they include things that aren’t in them.

        The Republicans don’t care about rational thought or discussion. Objective facts are merely to be ignored in order to get where they want to go but facts are real and, as in the health care legislation, they can’t lie about what it will or won’t do. If they do, and I suspect they will, they are only further undermining their already tattered credibility.

    2. Froward69 says:

      It will be a pleasure debunking all of them.

    3. Republican 36 says:

      Immediately after the vote Sunday evening, Rep. Gardner sent a blast email slamming Congresswoman Markey for voting for the bill and, most importantly, promising to vote for the complete repeal of the legislation passed late Sunday evening. He probably thought that was the right thing to do politically but he now has to deal with reality . . . a statute that is law and he has opened himself up to a devastating attack. Based on his email, State Rep. Gardner supports reinstating the following:

      1. Allowing insurance companies to terminate the insurance coverage you’ve paid for once you develop a serious health condition;

      2. Allowing insurance companies to deny coverage because of a preexisting health condition;

      3. Allowing insurance companies to terminate coverage of children before they are 26 years old even though the parent is willing to pay the premiums for that insurance;

      4. Continuing the fact that one third of all individual backruptcies in the United States are caused because of medical bills people can’t afford.

      He now has to answer why he favors the old system that put individuals and their entire life savings at risk and at the mercy of insurance company policies. He will regret taking the position that he will vote to repeal the entire bill.

      • Froward69 says:

        he is not too adept on what really is in the new Law.

        also proves he is unfit to be a congressman.

        Betsy Markey read and thought about changing her vote from NO to yes. THAT is what is needed in a congressperson. UNDERSTANDING of what it is they are voting for (or against)

        State Rep. Gardner obviously has no understanding.

        I am watching the knee-jerk reaction like this occurring across the country. I am all for republicans trying to undo or undermine new found Rights of the people.

        (good luck with that.. wink, wink)  

      • DavidThi808 says:

        Cory – why do you want to let insurance companies go back to refusing people for pre-existing conditions?

        Cory – why do you want to let insurance companies refuse to provide coverage for people that previously had cancer?

        Cory – why do you want to kick children off their parent’s insurance?

        Very hard questions for Cory to answer, if he wants to win.

          • cdsmith says:

            If he’s supporting repeal of the bulk of the bill, he’s got some wiggle room.  If it’s the whole bill… well, there are some parts of that bill that no one in their right mind wants to repeal.  Why would he commit himself to campaign on that?

            • sxp151 says:

              And the whole Republican election strategy this year depends on firing up the wingnuts and hoping everyone else stays home.

            • Republican 36 says:

              In his email, Mr. Gardner said unequivocally he supports repeal of the Obama health care bill. He did not make any exceptions for any of the specific provisions in the bill. I don’t think his statement can be read any other way than he wants to repeal the entire bill, every single line of it.

              I’m guessing but within a week or two we will begin to see Mr. Gardner equivocating and making statements about how some provisions in the bill are ok, but he didn’t equivocate in his email. This is what he said in his email:

              If elected, I will work and vote to repeal this legislation. Will you contribute today to help me make that happen

              It appears unequivocal to me.

    4. sxp151 says:

      Immediately after winning the 1994 elections, they overreached and shut down the government in 1995. It backfired.

      According to Tom Delay:

      [Newt Gingrich] told a room full of reporters that he forced the shutdown because Clinton had rudely made him and Bob Dole sit at the back of Air Force One…Newt had been careless to say such a thing, and now the whole moral tone of the shutdown had been lost. What had been a noble battle for fiscal sanity began to look like the tirade of a spoiled child. The revolution, I can tell you, was never the same.

      I guess today’s Republicans are doing the express version: instead of jumping immediately from winning an election to insane hubris and petty childishness, they’re going so fast it looks backwards.

    5. poodlelord says:

      Candidates always strive to define a narrative about what the next election should be about. And sometimes they get the narrative wrong-or more accurately public sentiment shifts and the candidate is too vested in the issue to understand the change.

      Judging by the political noise of early 2006, illegal immigration was going to be the defining issue of the fall 2006 election. Ask Governor Beauprez how well it worked for him. Arguably illegal immigration remains a national concern, but the loud, political belligerence that came to characterize the movement in 2006 ultimately has turned away moderates from the candidates trying to run on the issue.  

      Repeal of health care reform, as a fall election issue, will suffer the same fate as illegal immigration. The vitriol spewing from the right offers a diminishing rate of return and will ultimately push away moderates who see both pros and cons of reform–but are tired of their intelligence being insulted.  A candidate running on repeal 7 months for now will simply be viewed as irrelevant-and a sore loser.

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