Red state Democrats have only begun to experience the avalanche of attacks over their support for Obamacare. As races heat up, expect debate moderators, opponents and ads to pose tricky questions (a prize to any consultant who can come up with a non-embarrassing response):
- Did the president fool you into believing no one would lose their health-care plan or doctor?
- If you understood the president’s statement to be wrong, why did you [repeat it/not be clear] when talking up the plan?
- If you could vote again, would you vote no or vote for a different law?
- If you would have changed the law, then why not vote to change the law now?
- Do you support subsidized health care for full-time workers who decide to stay home to, say, watch TV or write poetry?
- Is it a desirable goal to have fewer employable able-bodied adults working?
- If the law is going to take people out of the workforce, reduce hours worked and reduce wages earned, should it be repealed?
- Millions of Americans used to buy catastrophic plans because of their health (e.g. young and healthy) or economic situation (e.g. want to save for a house) and now have to pay more. Was their previous choice “crappy”?
- If Obamacare is making it hard for people to find an affordable doctor, should it be changed?
- Should we keep Obamacare if ultimately fewer people are insured than before its passage? What if the numbers are just about the same?
- If Obamacare induces people to leave the workplace or go part-time, doesn’t unemployment insurance do the same?
- Do you think Obamacare has been a success?
- If Republicans have a plan that protects people with preexisting conditions, that allows children to stay on their parents’ plan until age 26 and that provides a tax credit for modest-income people who don’t otherwise have health insurance — but one that doesn’t have the individual mandate, that doesn’t result in plan cancellations, that doesn’t require tax hikes and that doesn’t increase the deficit — then why wouldn’t that be preferable to Obamacare?
- If you are proud of Obamacare, why aren’t you touting it in your ads and campaigning with the president?
And those are just a few of the queries Democrats will face. Brad Dayspring of the National Republican Senatorial Committee smells blood in the water. He tells me that the Congressional Budget Office report is “a problem in that it undercuts a key selling point many Democrats who supported it told their constituents — that Obamacare would create economic growth and employment.” I imagine there is even video of them saying it over and over again.
This leads to a few conclusions. First, the GOP’s chances of taking the Senate are improving as Obamacare unfolds. Second, the GOP should find a plausible candidate in every race; you never know how big a wave election can be. And third, Republicans had better get cracking on an Obamacare alternative; they’ll need it to drive a stake through Obamacare.