The incomparable Charles P. Pierce has some advice for Democrats about campaigning on Obamacare.
It’s now becoming pat to say this, but Democratic politicians in this year’s elections should run on their support for the law — if, for no other reason, than the fact that the Republicans are going to hang the ACA around their necks anyway. They should hammer hard on the indecency of the Republican governors who, out of rancid ideological meanness, refuse FREE MONEY (!) to provide their poor people with health care, especially now that people are starting to die for the lack of it. There should be ad after ad of people who demonstrate the sheer relief of not having to worry about choose between sick children or hungry children. Those dozens of votes to repeal the ACA should be illustrated by dozens of people in commercials who have pre-existing conditions, or dozens of young people, looking for work in a bad economy, who can stay on their parents’s health plans until they get settled. This is the kind of things that disarmed the opposition to health-care reform in Massachusetts — a concerted advertising campaign to put a happy face on the new system, with a slogan that doubled its entendres just enough to appeal to a modern audience. “I got it,” said the guy on the bike. “I’m going to get it,” said the woman jogger. And everybody laughed and went back to watching the Sox game. What worked here can work in the country. And you’re going to have to defend it anyway, so you might as well have fun doing it.
Some of them — Mark Begich of Alaska, for instance — are already getting the message out there, and some are making sure that they tell their constituents that the Republicans were — and still are — against it. They are framing it as “Why do the Republicans want to take away coverage for children? Why do they want to take away insurance from people with pre-existing conditions like diabetes? Why do they want the insurance companies to tell you where to work?”
The Republicans bet all their chips on the failure of Obamacare and it came up snake-eyes. They’re on the record as having voted over fifty times to repeal it entirely and replace it with… [crickets]. When pressed, they say they want to keep all of the good things about the law but repeal the bad things, but they can’t really explain what those bad things are without sounding like fools.
They then follow that with desperate attempts to debunk the numbers cited by the administration as to how many people have signed up, how many have paid for it, and the number of people under 35 — crucial for the actuarial calculations — who have enrolled. But there the numbers are against them.
The law is by no means perfect, and of course we’ll have the Death Panels and flat-earthers with us always, but even the most timid Democrat should embrace the law and let the people who benefit from it — the ones who actually got affordable care — cast the vote.