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ThePlumLIneGS whorunsgov plumline
Posted at 08:49 AM ET, 06/20/2012

The Morning Plum: Obamacare or no, Americans really, really want health reform

As Jonathan Bernstein and I have noted, a court decision against the Affordable Care Act would not necessarily change the basic parameters of the health care debate in the context of the 2012 campaign. I don’t see any upside for Dems in a decision striking down the law, as others have.

But if it is is repealed, Americans may naturally ask what lawmakers intend to replace it with — which could renew attention on the specific reforms Dems have been championing, and highlight the fact that Republicans and Mitt Romney are not suggesting any meaningful alternative to some of those reforms.

Today’s Associated Press poll finds that an overwhelming majority, 77 percent, want the President and Congress to start work on a new health bill if Obaamcare is ruled unconstitutional. Only 19 percent want the system left as is. In other words: Americans want reform.

There’s no denying that public opinion on Obamacare has not turned around, as some of us predicted it would. The new poll also finds that only 33 percent support the law, versus 47 percent who oppose it (though the AP doesn’t break out those who think it didn’t go far enough).

But many other polls have shown that the individual reforms Dems support are quite popular. While this didn’t swing opinion on the overall law, there may be an opening for Dems to renew the debate over the reforms themselves if it’s struck down. The ban on discrimination against those with preexisting conditions has overwhelming support. But Romney has confirmed that he would not ban discrimination against those with preexisting conditions who have not had continuous insurance. And House Republicans seem to have decided that if the law is voided, it will be on the White House, not them, to come up with a replacement solution for the sick and those with preexisting conditions.

So if the law is nixed, you can expect more Dems to do what North Dakota Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp is doing — tout specific reforms, and blast Republicans for returning us to a pre-reform era. Which only 19 percent of Americans want.

* Obama launches new ads blasting “corporate raider” Romney: The Obama camp is out with a new ad hitting Romney’s record as a “corporate raider” and claiming he shipped jobs overseas, and a second spot hitting him for raising taxes and fees as Governor of Massachusetts — while cutting taxes on “millionaires like himself.”

The ads — which are airing in nine swing states — show that the Obama camp has not dropped its attack on the Bain years. Instead, Obama advisers see it as of a piece with the narrative it’s developing about Romney’s gubernatorial record and broader economic vision. The Obama camp urgently needs to persuade voters that Romney embodies a set of ideas about the economy — one that got him rich in the private sector but led to middle class layoffs and didn’t translate into robust job creation in Massachusetts — that have already been discredited.

* Middle class will get hit by GOP plan: Lori Montgomery:

The tax reform plan that House Republicans have advanced would sharply cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans and could leave middle-class households facing much larger tax bills, according to a new analysis set to be released Wednesday.

Key point from Chuck Schumer: “If you want to cut taxes on the rich and not raise the deficit, you’re going to have to basically clobber the middle class.” Either that or you can just claim that economic growth will pay for those tax cuts for the rich. That’s a lot easier.

* New poll shows Obama way up, but it’s probably outlier: A new Bloomberg poll shows Obama with a wide lead over Romney, 53-40. Key findings: Obama has a big lead, 49-33, on which candidate has laid out a better vision for the country’s economic future, and 51 percent say the better way to great jobs is with federal investments, while only 43 percent prefer cutting spending and taxes — exactly how the Obama camp hopes to frame the race.

But as Steven Shepard notes, the poll is likely an outlier: The latest Real Clear Politics polling average shows Obama up by only two points.

* More Americans say they’re better off: The Bloomberg poll also finds that 45 percent say they are better off than they were at the start of 2009, versus 36 percent who say they are worse off.

Again, this may be an outlier. But since we keep being told that the most important question facing Obama is “are you better off than you were four years ago,” it will be interesting to see how much discussion this new finding generates.

* Scott Brown losing control of the argument over the debate: The Boston Globe’s Glen Johnson has a useful recap of the battle between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren over their debates, raising the possibility that Brown’s latest demand that Vicki Kennedy muzzle herself in the race has cost him the moral high ground he enjoyed at the outset of this argument.

* GOP grappling with Obama’s immigration move: A group of GOP Senators is demanding that Obama produce documents showing that he sought legal counsel before announcing his anti-deportation move. However, Mitch McConnell said yesterday that Republicans are waiting until Romney clarifies where he stands on the move before deciding on their position.

* Rubio trying to decide what he thinks of Obama immigration move: Good catch by Christian Heinze: Rubio claimed on Fox News that he is “probably” going to conclude that Obama’s new immigration policy is ”unconstitutional,” but he’s not ready to proclaim it so quite yet. Obama’s policy moves us in the direction Rubio himself wants to go in, but supporting it is obviously not an option, so naturally the only course is to figure out a way to criticize it on a process basis.

* Romney’s lack of specificity a major test for national media: David Atkins gets this exactly right:

The Romney 2012 campaign will be a big test for the national news media. Is it possible to stonewall and lie shamelessly throughout an entire presidential election campaign without being called on it in a significantly damaging way? It’s the “secret plan to end the war”, but with $5 trillion in tax cuts for the rich offset by a secret plan to balance the budget.

* And MSNBC stands by misleading edit of Romney video: Eric Wemple reports that MSNBC is not going to apologize for its snipping of the video of Romney’s WaWa comments. As I noted here yesterday, however, the edit does distort the meaning of what Romney said, to the point of being misleading, intentional or not.

What else?

By  |  08:49 AM ET, 06/20/2012

 
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