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.
From the middle of 2009 onward, those opposed to President Obama’s attempted overhaul of American medicine have enjoyed a distinct, if underappreciated, rhetorical advantage. Taking a page out of the playbook that led to the defeat of Hillarycare in 1994, advocates of limited government and liberty quickly coined the president’s centerpiece initiative “Obamacare.”
A big part of Obamacare is its massive expansion of Medicaid. Fortunately, this expansion can’t happen in most states without Republicans freely choosing to make it happen. Unfortunately, far too many Republican governors seem to be confused about the distinction between repealing Obamacare and implementing it.
It would be a major understatement to say that Obamacare has had a bad spring. Around the time of Lincoln’s birthday, registered voters told Fox News that, by a margin of 6 percentage points (48 to 42 percent), it would “be better to go back to the health care system that was in place in 2009” than it would be “to leave the new health care law in place.” Three months later, as we head into Memorial Day, nostalgia for the good ol’ days of 2009 now beats Obamacare by a whopping 22 points (56 to 34 percent).
When President Obama released his first budget — entitled with no hint of irony, “A New Era of Responsibility” — he projected that deficit spending over the next five fiscal years (2010-14) would total $3.767 trillion. Now, Obama has released his fifth budget (which doesn’t seem to have a name).
Obamacare makes the ’62 Mets look like the ’27 Yankees. Since President Obama signed Obamacare into law on March 23, 2010, Rasmussen Reports has conducted 114 polls asking likely voters whether they’d prefer to keep Obamacare or repeal it. All 114 times, voters have said they’d prefer to repeal it. In 107 of those polls — including the one released today — Obamacare’s margin of defeat has been double-digits.
At a rally in Ohio last week, Mitt Romney said, “Obama-care is really Exhibit No. 1 of the president’s political philosophy, and that is that government knows better than people how to run your lives.” The GOP nominee added, “I don’t believe in a bigger and bigger government. . . . I believe in free people pursuing their dreams. I believe in freedom.”
The latest Rasmussen poll of likely voters shows that independents overwhelmingly support the repeal of Obamacare — by 18 percentage points (55 to 37 percent) — which once again raises this question: How can an incumbent president hope to win reelection when his centerpiece legislation is this unpopular with swing voters?
Addressing the audience at an AARP convention today, Paul Ryan declared, "The first step to a stronger Medicare is to repeal Obamacare." He explained to those in attendance how Obamacare would turn "Medicare into a piggy bank," while also putting "15 unelected bureaucrats in charge of Medicare’s future." Ryan added, "The president doesn’t talk much about what Obamacare will really mean for seniors." Why? "People don’t like it."
As we get further removed from a Republican convention that, at least in prime time (and apart from Paul Ryan), didn’t emphasize the importance of repealing Obamacare, and a Democratic convention at which President Obama was praised for spearheading Obamacare’s passage regardless of the considerable difficulties he faced (namely, the opposition of the vast majority of the American people), Americans’ attitudes toward repeal now seem to have reverted back to what they’ve been across the better part of the past two-and-a-half years. This is good news for the Romney campaign.
The verdict now seems to be in on the Romney campaign's strategy of generally avoiding making the case against Obamacare and choosing not to make President Obama's defining legislation a defining issue in this campaign.