The voters haven’t changed their minds.Oct 27, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 07 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
A Gallup survey earlier this month showing that Americans oppose Obamacare by a margin of 53 to 41 percent was the 150th poll listed by Real Clear Politics during President Obama’s second term to find Obamacare unpopular. The number that found it to be popular was zero.
The mainstream media, meanwhile, seemingly operating in an alternative universe, think that Obamacare is here to stay. Politico writes, “Deep down, Republicans who know health care know the truth: Obamacare isn’t about to be repealed. . . . [T]hink of the last time a major social program was repealed after three enrollment seasons, with millions of people getting benefits. That’s right—it hasn’t happened.”
But to conclude that the track record of major social programs indicates that Obamacare cannot be repealed requires historical cluelessness. Social Security passed the House with 92 percent of the vote (365 in favor, 30 opposed). Medicare and Medicaid (which were voted on together) passed the House with 73 percent of the vote (307 in favor, 116 opposed). Obamacare passed the House with 50.8 percent of the vote (219 in favor, 212 opposed). Moreover, support for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid was bipartisan. House Republicans backed Social Security by 81 to 15. House Republicans backed Medicare and Medicaid by 70 to 68. House Republicans opposed Obamacare by 178 to 0.
There’s a big difference between major social programs that passed the House with majority support from both parties and majority support from the citizenry and a major social program passed by the House over the unanimous opposition of one of the two parties and the clear opposition of a majority of the citizenry—opposition that (at least in the case of the citizenry) remains every bit as strong an Olympiad later.
A recent McLaughlin & Associates poll found that, by a 12-point margin (44 to 32 percent), likely voters preferred “a conservative alternative that aims to lower health costs and help people get insurance” to keeping Obamacare “either in its current form or in amended form.” (An additional 16 percent wanted Obamacare to be “repealed but not replaced with an alternative.”) Earlier this month, a Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll asked likely Iowa voters whether they’d prefer to “repeal Obamacare” or “leave Obamacare largely the way it is.” Repeal won, 55 to 39 percent.
This combination of popular opposition and elite denial has helped set the stage for the second Obamacare election.
The first was, of course, the mid-term election of 2010, when the Democrats—seven months after they had passed “health reform”—got a “shellacking,” to use Obama’s word. They lost 63 House seats and the majority—the first time those two things happened in tandem since the 1800s. The 2012 election provided a brief hiatus from Obamacare. Confronted with a slate of presidential candidates that included only one sitting governor or senator, Republican primary voters reluctantly chose a nominee who, of all the prominent Republicans in the country, was probably the least able or willing to make Obamacare an issue—having himself spearheaded somewhat similar legislation in his own state. Exit polling found the voters opposed to Obamacare, but both candidates’ determination to de-emphasize the issue mitigated its importance in deciding
Promptly thereafter, and well before the badly bungled rollout of HealthCare.gov, Obamacare resumed its rightful place as the principal issue of the day—and the 2014 election is being driven in large part by Americans’ opposition to it and everything it stands for. Obamacare is the symbol of big government, political arrogance, and federal largesse. According to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, Republicans and their allies have run more than 70,000 anti-Obamacare ads in this year’s Senate races—more than on jobs, taxes, and social issues combined.
Liberals like to pretend this election isn’t about Obamacare, but one wonders what they think it is about. It’s not as if voters clearly blame their economic woes more on Democrats than on Republicans. President Obama’s approval rating is in the low-40s, but why would that be? Aside from a brief uptick after his reelection, his job approval has rarely cleared
50 percent since he signed Obamacare into law. Obama himself has said that his “policies are on the ballot” this fall, but is there any doubt which one is his centerpiece policy?
Chris Christie to Maryland as governor's race shows signs of tightening.1:01 PM, Oct 15, 2014 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Every election year, it seems, there’s a race that catches the political set in Washington by surprise. It’s possible that we’ve already seen the 2014 version of this with the defeat of House majority leader Eric Cantor, a result few anticipated and fewer still predicted.
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:35 PM, Oct 14, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior writer Stephen F. Hayes on ebola in the U.S., the administration's response, and how ebola is impacting close senate races in 2014.
7:02 AM, Oct 1, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
A new poll finds that three-fifths of likely voters support the repeal of Obamacare. A large plurality — 44 percent — wants to see Obamacare repealed and replaced with a conservative alternative. A much smaller group —16 percent — wants to see it repealed but not replaced. Less than one in three respondents — 32 percent — would like to keep Obamacare, whether in its current form or in amended form. So, with a conservative alternative in play, 60 percent of Americans support repeal, while only 32 percent oppose it.
9:08 AM, Sep 22, 2014 • By SCOTT SMITH
With the announcement in Kabul of a power-sharing government between the two presidential candidates, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the Afghan election comes closer to a resolution. What is missing, however, is an actual result. The “national unity government” was one part of a deal brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry back in July, when preliminary official results gave Ghani a massive victory, and Abdullah threatened to pull out of the process, claiming massive fraud had taken place. After two months of an audit overseen by the UN, when every ballot box was re-examined—something unprecedented in electoral history—a final result was reached. The result was given last week in secret to the candidates, but not to the public.
An electoral blind spot for conservatives.Jul 28, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 43 • By MICHAEL WARREN
It looks like Florida legislators are heading back to the drawing board—literally. On July 10, Tallahassee circuit court judge Terry Lewis ruled that the GOP-run legislature violated the state constitution by redrawing two congressional districts “with the intention of obtaining enacted maps . . . that would favor the Republican party.” The state won’t be appealing the decision, and, following the 2014 midterm elections, the legislature will have to approve a new map.
Hosted by Michael Graham.3:55 PM, May 16, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD Podcast with editor William Kristol on why the GOP shouldn't rest on its laurels when it comes to poll numbers and why they should continue the offensive through to November.
Republicans will run on it. Democrats will run away from it.Dec 2, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 12 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida congresswoman and chair of the Democratic National Committee, is nothing if not dedicated to the cause. “You’re darn right our candidates are going to run on the advantage that Obamacare will be going into the 2014 election,” she recently told CNN.
Will the GOP be ready?Nov 18, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 10 • By JAY COST
The governorship of Virginia has been held by some of the most eminent men in American history: Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Edmund Randolph, Henry Lee, James Monroe. And now, Terry McAuliffe will sit in their chair. Depressing?
12:40 PM, Nov 3, 2013 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Could the focus on Obamacare in the last couple of weeks before Tuesday's Virginia gubernatorial election enable the Republican nominee, Ken Cuccinelli, to come from behind in the homestretch? He's run a pretty awful campaign so far, and has been trailing badly for months, but ...
September 15, 2008.11:58 AM, Sep 19, 2013 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
Sunday was September 15. It's an important anniversary, because it's the day that gave us President Barack Obama.
A presidential succession fraught with peril.Aug 19, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 46 • By OLIVIER GUITTA
Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika returned to Algiers on July 16 after three months in a hospital in Paris. His health will prevent him from running for reelection in April, and it’s unclear whether he can run the country until then. As a result, the contest over his succession is already gearing up, and the Islamists are first out of the starting blocks. The United States and the European Union—along with China, a major presence in energy-rich Algeria—are closely monitoring this latest round in the continuing struggle over the Islamists’ role in government and society.
8:15 AM, Jul 3, 2013 • By JAMES C. CAPRETTA
The Obama administration must have been hearing some awfully threatening noises from the business community lately, because its unilateral delay of Obamacare’s employer mandate, from 2014 to 2015, is otherwise very difficult to explain. The delay is an embarrassing move for the White House and will create some serious new headaches for Obamacare’s defenders.
12:36 PM, Jun 14, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
An article about the Iranian presidential election, published online earlier today, included this quotation from the father of Noushin Sobhani, a 31-year-old Iranian gynecologist:
“We hate America,” her father said, smiling. “I hope The New York Times building burns down.”
It's been changed. It now reads:
“We hate America,” her father said, smiling.