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It’s the Obamacare, Stupid

Nov 28, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 11 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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Exit polling provides further evidence that it wasn’t the economy that did in the Democrats. Such polling showed that 35 percent of voters blamed Wall Street for the economy, while 29 percent blamed President Bush. Only 24 percent blamed President Obama.

Yet the Republicans won in a landslide in 2010. In fact, the last time that the Republicans gained that many House seats while also regaining control of the chamber was three months before Babe Ruth’s birth, in the late 19th century. So, if Republicans didn’t win 63 net seats because of the economy, why did they win? Republicans won because they shared voters’ opposition to Obamacare.

A year later, such opposition among voters hasn’t noticeably subsided and has arguably even increased. It now looks likely to remain every bit as strong across the coming months, until voters finally get their shot at the guy who thought he could impose a government takeover of health care against the cool and deliberate sense of a free people.

What should Republicans do? If Republicans want to show that they’re remotely as committed to eliminating Obamacare as Obama was in imposing it, there are plenty of actions they can take. Congressional Republicans can pass bills to repeal Obamacare’s CLASS (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports) Act and its grisly IPAB (Independent Payment Advisory Board)—and then follow that by once again passing full repeal legislation, this time in the midst of a presidential campaign. In addition, they can pass the replacement legislation for Obamacare that they promised voters they would deliver.

Republican presidential candidates can emphasize that repealing Obamacare is by far the most important thing the next administration and Congress can do. They can detail why Obamacare is probably the worst piece of legislation in American history, while unveiling plans to replace it—plans that would lower health costs, end the tax code’s discrimination against the uninsured, and fund state-run community pools to help provide access to coverage for those with prohibitively expensive preexisting conditions.

Beyond that, Republican presidential, congressional, and senatorial candidates would do well to reflect on, and perhaps reconsider, what the coming election is really all about. If Obamacare is one of the worst—maybe the worst—and most unpopular major pieces of legislation ever passed on these shores, and if its fate will likely be decided by the upcoming election (as it will), then why would Republicans say that the upcoming election is mostly about the economy?

Obama knows he cannot win a referendum on Obamacare. His best hope is that Republicans will continue to join him in pretending that this will be a run-of-the-mill election centered around the economy, rather than a historic election in which the citizenry’s verdict will largely determine the future course of the nation.

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