by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Republicans should stop taking the boob bait of the press. The story of the day is ObamaCare and the pain it is causing the Democrats. That story is not being fully explored. We are not seeing pieces on Captol Hill Democrats rethinking their four-year-long lockstep backing of a program that is failing massively and before the nation’s eyes. I’m not seeing “Pelosi Agonistes: The Speaker Who Said ‘We Have to Pass It to Find Out What’s In It’ Has Some Regrets.” We’re not seeing “Democratic House Group Meets, Anguishes, Decides on New Path.” We’re not reading “Dem Sens From Red States Bolt: ‘It Only Takes One to Start a Jailbreak.’”
The focus of political journalism now should be on what’s happening on the Democratic side, because ObamaCare is a Democratic program. They bought it, they built it, what now? …
… Someone should tell Republicans that the story now, next week and this winter is ObamaCare, not 2016. It is what to do about ObamaCare. 2016 is not the subject now, it is a changing of the subject. …
… A final word on Democrats on the Hill and ObamaCare. In the past month they’ve dealt with the disaster through talking points. That’s what parties in duress do, have kids in the back room write press releases based on the pushback guidance of combative consultants. Those talking points have gone, more or less, from “heavy demand caused the website to crash” to “the website will soon be fixed” to “every big program has bumps at the beginning” to “wait till the American people see their benefits!” to “not that many policies have been cancelled” to “not that many premiums have gone up” to “not that many people will lose their doctors.
Not one of the talking points has worked. Because incoming data, day by day, kept washing over them and sinking them.
The new talking point it that ObamaCare was damaged and fell due to Republican “sabotage.” Republicans on Capitol Hill refused to vote for it, refused to like it and support it. They tried repeatedly to repeal it and defund it.
And all this is true. But it is not sabotage. This is opposition. The Republicans thought the ACA a bad piece of work, a bad bill that would make things worse, not better.
Still, Republicans should take the sabotage charge seriously, because it is not a claim aimed at the consideration of the American people but of history. Democrats are admitting with this charge that ObamaCare is a disaster. They no longer want to argue that it is not. They are arguing that it is a disaster brought about by Republicans. That will be what they argue for history and feed their journalistic historians.