Republicans’ repeal push: Is it the right move?

at 08:02 AM ET, 07/02/2012

In the immediate aftermath of the Supreme Court upholding President Obama’s health care law, Republicans had a simple, one word pushback: “repeal.”


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, accompanied by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, left, and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., speaks to reporters outside the Senate, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 26, 2012, following a political strategy session with other GOP Senate leaders. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“I will act to repeal Obamacare,” said former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney on Friday.

“We will not flinch from our resolve to make sure this law is repealed in its entirety,” House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation”.

“If I’m the leader of the majority next year, I commit to the American people that the repeal of Obamacare will be job one,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) on “Fox News Sunday”.

The singularity of message reflects a Republican belief that people don’t like the health care law — no matter what the Supreme Court said or did — and want it changed all costs.

There is some initial data to back up that sentiment. In a USA Today/Gallup poll, a majority favored either total repeal of the law by Congress (31 percent) or repeal of some portions of the law (21 percent). Just 38 percent wanted to see Congress expand the law or leave it as is.

Despite that poll, Democrats insist there is ample evidence that suggests that voters, whether or not they like the health care law, do not want to re-litigate the political fight that led to its passage. That’s why virtually every Democrat in a swing or Republican leaning state — Bob Kerrey in Nebraska, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota — put out a statement after the ruling that condemned the partisan fight that has come to define the law, rather than getting into any specifics of the law itself.

The clash of political strategies is a fascinating one. Republicans simply believe that the more Democrats have to talk about (and defend) a law that remains unpopular in the eyes of many Americans, the better for their side politically. Democrats counter that calls for repeal play into a preexisting notion about the extreme view of Congressional Republicans — an image that is all to the good as voters seek to make up their minds this fall.

Which side is right? It’s possible that both are.

On the presidential level, taking his eye off the economy for even a second spoils hurt Romney. That is why he’s likely to spend the vast majority of his time on the campaign trail between now and November talking not about the health care law, but about the fiscal health of the country.

But in downballot contests, it’s possible that the “repeal” message could have some resonance as it allows Republican candidates to aggressively link less-defined Democrats to a president who is not terribly popular in Republican-leaning states. While the economy remains the overarching issue in every race, that sort of association — whether on health care or any other hot button issue — is bad news for the likes of Kerrey and Heitkamp.

Dems launch robocalls: House Democrats are launching robocalls in the districts of ten vulnerable Republicans ahead of a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“Democrats are on offense as we expose these House Republicans for standing up for insurance companies and Congressional perks instead of protecting consumers,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rep. Steve Israel (N.Y.) in a statement.

RGA raises $16.7 million: The Republican Governors Association will announce raising $16.7 million in the second quarter of 2012. The Democratic Governors Association raised $13 million. However, Democrats included money raised for their independent expenditure arm, while Republicans did not.

The group had $34 million in the bank at the end of of March. In the first quarter of the year, the RGA raised $12.2 million while the DGA raised $8 million.

Democrats are defending eight gubernatorial seats this cycle, while Republicans have to protect only four.

FixBits:

* New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) asks, “Are you stupid?”

* Richard Mourdock explains why he didn’t post any of his Supreme Court reaction videos.

* Obama’s campaign is challenging factcheckers and defending outsourcing claims.

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