Get this: Chuck Schumer thinks Mitch McConnell’s support for repealing health insurance for 400,000 people in his home state might actually become a political liability for him.
This crazy notion comes in a fundraising email that Schumer is circulating for Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes. It can’t be true, of course, since it is an established fact that Obamacare can only be an enormous liability for Democrats in elections six months from now, and there can never be any pitfalls of any kind in the GOP repeal stance, no matter how many people end up enjoying the law’s benefits. Yet there it is — Schumer is suggesting it anyway. The fundraising email, which was first noted by Phillip Bailey, reads:
The polls are already neck-and-neck, and thanks to the success of Obamacare and McConnell’s position of absolute repeal, he’s going to have to run on taking health care away from more than 400,000 people.
It vows that Dems are “going on offense — in the south.”
Obamacare, and its chief sponsor, are obviously deeply unpopular in Kentucky. But as you’re surely tired of hearing from this blog by now, McConnell would repeal Kentucky Kynect, the state based exchange that has signed up over 400,000 people for health care.
The recently released New York Times poll of the south sheds some interesting light on this. It found that Kentuckians disapprove of the overall law by 55-35. Awful, right? And yet, Kentuckians also prefer to keep and fix the law over repealing and replacing it by 52-41. It also found that 43 percent of Kentuckians personally know someone who was able to get health insurance, thanks to the law, and that 53 percent say the state exchange is working well.
Grimes has mostly not followed Schumer’s template here. She does stand up for the general idea of expanding coverage to hundreds of thousands of people, and opposes repeal. But she is not engaging McConnell directly on the law, for a host of reasons, not least that Governor Steve Beshear (who, by the way, polls at 56 percent), is making the case for it — and against McConnell’s repeal stance — with evangelical fervor, leaving Grimes free to talk about jobs, the minimum wage, and other economic issues that will ground her candidacy in Kentucky.
But Schumer plays a major role in crafting party messaging, so it’s noteworthy that he’s predicting Dems will move more aggressively to put McConnell on defense, even on the hated Obamacare — or, more accurately, on his continued vow to repeal Kentucky Kynect. Maybe one of these days McConnell will be pressed a bit harder on the real-world implications of his pledge to do away with Kynect, and on what he would do for all the people who would lose coverage if he got his way.