Today the House GOP will vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The vote is purely symbolic, but Republicans believe it will be helpful politically: It will excite the base, and drive home again that only by putting Republicans in charge can Obamacare be repealed, clarifying the stakes in this fall’s elections, as Republicans hope to define them.
But what if there’s also an opening for Democrats to make a moral issue out of repeal? Mitt Romney would not replace Obamacare with anything meaningful; he would not ban across-the-board discrimination against those with preexisting condidtions. Matt Miller says Obama should go on offense in a big way:
Here’s what you should do, Mr. President. In the debates this fall, pull out a small laminated card you’ve had made as a prop for this purpose. Then remind Mitt Romney that the ranks of the uninsured today are equal to the combined populations of Oklahoma, Connecticut, Iowa, Mississippi, Kansas, Kentucky, Arkansas, Utah, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, West Virginia, Nebraska, Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, Vermont and Wyoming.
Read that list slowly, Mr. President. Then ask your opponent: Would America turn its back on the citizens of these 25 states if everyone there lacked basic health coverage? That’s what we’ve been doing for decades. You knew it was right to act when you were governor of Massachusetts, Mitt. How can you pretend we don’t need to solve this for the nation? And how can you object with a straight face when your own pioneering plan was my model?
The president should also say he’d be happy to talk reform once Republicans offer a rival plan that the CBO certifies will cover 30 million people, as the Affordable Care Act does.
Here’s another question. We know Obamacare remains unpopular. But what if full repeal — the Romney/GOP position — is actually less popular than Obamacare itself? It’s hard to answer this question, because different polling organizations poll on these issues so differently. But...
* The most recent Post/ABC poll finds the public split on Obamacare, 47-47; but only 18 percent support full repeal.
* A recent Kaiser poll found that only 38 percent support repealing the law and replacing it with a GOP alternative or nothing at all, versus 41 percent who support the law.
Obamacare opponents will argue that large numbers of Americans support full or partial repeal of the law. But polling questions often don’t specify what parts people would want repealed, meaning answers could reflect hostility towards the mandate. Either way, partial repeal is not the GOP position, and those who want part of the law repealed may be saying they want it fixed. Most Americans — even many who are skeptical of the law — appear to be uncomfortable with full repeal. Dems shouldn’t shy away from making a moral case against it.
* More polling on the Bain attacks: As promised, here’s the new polling memo from the Obama-allied Priorities USA Action detailing the impact of the attacks on Romney’s Bain years. The key findings, in five swing states where the group has been advertising:
• 37% of voters say that Romney’s business experience at Bain Capital make them LESS likely to vote for him. Just 27% say it makes them MORE likely to vote for him.
• 58% of swing state voters now say it is true that as a businessman, Romney’s priority was making millions for himself and his investors, regardless of the impact on jobs and the employees
As noted here yesterday, this is also about defining Romney in a way that will make it easier for voters to accept that Romney really would cut Medicare while also cutting taxes for the rich.
* But there’s no competing with Rove’s Crossroads: Even if Priorities USA is moving the needle with its Bain attacks, liberal donors might want to remember that Crossroads is dumping a whopping $70 million into Senate contests across the country, and control of the Senate is at stake.
* Obama ahead in another national poll: A new Quinnpiac poll finds Obama leading Romney nationally by 46-43. Obama appears to be keepng his coalition of women, particularly unmarried ones, college educated voters and minorities together, while Romney is winning big among married voters, men, and non-college whites.
A key dynamic to watch: Despite Obama’s upside down approval numbers on the economy (40-55), the two men are roughly tied when they are compared on thie issue.
* Romney hits Obama as “outsourcer in chief”: Great stuff from Michael Shear and Ashley Parker, who fact check both sides’ rhetoric on the question of which candidate is guilty of outsourcing. It turns out several of the companies Republicans are citing to prove Obama is an outsourcer say the attacks are inaccurate.
Shear and Parker cite a FactCheck.org article claiming Obama’s attacks on Romney as an outsourcing pioneer are false, because Romney left Bain before the outsourcing in question, though documents have surfaced that may contradict this.
Beyond this dispute, here’s a question: Does Romney support Obama’s proposal to give tax credits to companies that move jobs back home?
* Romney takes another hit over financial disclosure: The New York Times editorial board pounds Romney for refusing to release his tax returns, upending a tradition presidential candidates have followed since Watergate, and for not fully explaining the nature of his departure from Bain.
As I noted here yesterday, it now seems clear that the Romney campaign has decided he won’t be releasing them for the duration, and has decided that the political blowback he will take over this — which will likely only intensify — is a better option than what might happen if he did release them.
* Romney ratchets up Latino outreach: The Romney campaign is out with a new Spanish language ad featuring his Spanish-speaking son, Craig Romney, pitching his father as a man of ‘great convictions” who will “get our country on the right track and create jobs.”
The ad doesn’t attack Obama’s economic record, but the emphasis on jobs is a reminder that the economy is the Romney camp’s best hope of making any inroads among Latinos, given his immigration stances.
* Stick with $250,000, Dems: Joan Walsh reminds skittish Democrats: From where most Americans are sitting, the top two percent of taxpayers look like they’re doing pretty darn well, and Dems don’t need a tidy $1 million talking point to make their case.
* And GOP frets over Romney’s lack of specifics: It is now so cool to point out that Romney is refusing to detail his policies on a range of issues that even Republicans are getting in on the act, and suggesting it could even hamper his chances of becoming president.