ObamaCare Is a Losing Bet
"Aim for the heart, Ramon," the Man With No Name taunted. In the movie For a Few Dollars More, Clint Eastwood's character covered his heart with an iron plate hidden beneath his poncho, knowing that Ramon would stubbornly aim for his heart and run out of ammunition. Making your opponent waste energy and resources is a classic tactic. At the monthly meeting of the Palatine Township Republican Organization, Congressman Roskam made one thing abundantly clear: the Republican strategy for 2014 is ObamaCare, just as the strategy in 2012 was the economy, and just as Ramon's strategy was aiming for the heart. If Republicans aim only at ObamaCare, they will find an iron plate.
In September of 2012, Mitt Romney looked fairly well poised to beat President Obama. The lead was not astronomical, but most voters saw the economy as the major issue, and increasingly saw Republicans as better suited to fixing it. Then came the smoke and mirrors. The power of the President was abused to alter economic figures, creating a false and drastic dip in September unemployment. This was not a last ditch effort, but a careful manipulation of census data over two years. Back in 2010, Democratic strategists realized that the highly partisan, Democratic "Porkulus" would fail and the economy would be an albatross about their necks, and so planned the massive deception for 2012; a hidden iron plate to cover their hearts.
The second phase of ObamaCare had a disastrous rollout, and the sticker shock is still stinging, but the general election is 10 months away, and the iron plate is plainly visible. Most of the phase-ins and deadlines of the Affordable Care Act begin just after or well before the Federal elections. For those parts that were planned poorly, Obama has issued imperial decrees to move them post-election. In 2013, the Democrats branded a few million Americans with the mark of ObamaCare. So many people complained, that Obama put the brand back into the fire and promised not to take it out again until after the 2014 elections, when it will be red hot and ready to brand all Americans. All praise the benevolence of our Glorious Leader.
The Law of Government Failure guarantees that some ObamaCare pains will continue to trickle in between now and November 2014, but how painful and how visible remain unknowns. As Roskam said, "the media is on their side, not leaning toward it." As evidence for that statement, this author has listened in on several of Roskam's town hall teleconferences. In every teleconference a constituent accuses the House of being a bunch of "do nothings", and Roskam responds with a dozen things that have been done; and someone accuses the Republicans of having no plan on healthcare, and Roskam responds with the several dozen bipartisan ObamaCare fixes that have already passed out of the House. The "news" media has done a very good job of deceiving the American People on behalf of the Democratic Party.
For Republicans to win on ObamaCare, they must remind the voters that the brand is still on the fire, destined for all of their behinds, and the Democrats are a bunch of madmen who will gleefully apply it. As far as the "news" media is concerned, ObamaCare has been fixed. As far as many voters are concerned, ObamaCare has been repealed (wishful thinking?). Democrats and their media allies will undoubtedly argue that the brand is not a brand at all, and that it will only be used to brand a few, who will be better off for the branding. In order for people to have the choice of believing their lying eyes, they need to have the experience of ObamaCare. Until it actually happens, the certainty of ObamaCare is only hypothetical babble, and the Republican's task is daunting.
Why focus on ObamaCare?
Complaining about ObamaCare is like complaining about runny noses. Obama can hide all the mirrors and sear off the noses, and make everyone happy, until they miss their noses, after the election. A runny nose is a symptom of the flu, just as ObamaCare is a symptom of big government. Rather than complaining about an easily hidden symptom, Republicans should focus on the glaringly obvious disease. Gallup reported that 72% of Americans view big government as the greatest threat to the country. Unlike ObamaCare, Republicans need not even attempt to convince Americans that big government is a big problem. It is preaching to a huge choir, and Republicans have not tried it since the 1980s, when they won big (and Democrats did a little of it too).
If big government becomes the issue, then Republicans must only convince voters that Republicans want smaller, reasoned, working government, and Democrats want more government; a very simple task. The proof easily penetrates the media filter, because the media frequently advocates for big government on behalf of Democrats. News shows are filled with Democrats advocating for and defending the failures of big government. After Obama said, "you didn't build that," the negative reaction was so intense and unexpected, that after promoting the statement, many large media outlets claimed that Obama never said it. Obama's 2012 campaign slogan could have been, "you can't succeed unless government does it for you," but Republicans failed to emphasize Obama's big government beliefs, because the focus was the economy, and Republicans were unprepared to tie the two together.
The big government problem already forms the core of the Republican healthcare solutions. Why is the same insurance cheaper in one state over another? Because they are not the same. Illinois and California force their residents to buy expensive insurance that covers boob jobs, sex changes, and drug rehab, while Kentucky and Alabama allow their residents to buy "catastrophic" insurance that covers emergency care and disease. How does tort reform reduce costs? Because government protects the people who bring frivolous lawsuits from the consequences of a countersuit. Why are medical supplies, equipment, and hospital rooms expensive? Because of a circus of often conflicting Federal, State and local regulations, mandates and laws.
It is ridiculous that the government should "allow" people to make improvements on their own homes. It is insane that the government can force a person to develop their land into a frog sanctuary, essentially seizing the land without seizing it. It is an EPA that Republicans detest, but the EPA that Democrats wanted. Small banks are being crushed under Frank-Dodd, another Democratic "victory". Unlike the hypothetical horrors of ObamaCare, this Democratic-led insanity is plentiful and ongoing.
Republicans may take careful aim at ObamaCare only to hear the bullet clink off. The vast majority of the country already agrees that big government has become a big problem, while the Democrats continue to advocate for an even bigger and more insane government. Rather than "ObamaCare is bad, m'kay," try, "restoring sanity to government."