Republicans are all in a lather about the implementation of Obamacare. Here in North Carolina, they got news that sent them over the moon. Our state’s premiums will be higher than than the national average.
On twitter, this was like Christmas in September. The right-wing talking-point tweeters were doing 140-character metaphorical jigs tweeting various forms of “I told ya so, you liberal idiots.” And, at the same time, Ted Cruz was wooing them with his faux filibuster. They were swooning like teenage girls at an Elvis concert.
The right-flank of the Republican Party, dominated by the Tea Party faction, is betting the farm that the failure of Obamacare is going to send Democrats the way of the dinosaur. They are sure that the public is hanging on every negative article and they have polls that show the American people dislike the new program more than they like it.
The funnest part for me is watching them eat their own. They’re outright attacking Senator Richard Burr for not trying to defund Obamacare by any futile means possible. And they attacked the conservative but pragmatic Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) as a RINO for saying that the folks trying to defund Obamacare are not based in the “real world.” While I hope the moderates in the GOP civil war eventually win, right now I’m just enjoying the show.
Republicans may hate Obamacare, but it’s their own fault. Throughout the first decade of the 21st century, when the GOP controlled the White House and Congress, health care reform was consistently the top issue among voters in federal races. Republicans, though, chose not to address it.
When Democrats took back Congress in 2006, health care reform was front and center in most Congressional races. During the 2008 Democratic primary for president, the famous debates between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton focused on how to implement reform, not whether to implement it. While the collapse of the economy changed the public’s priorities and focus after Obama’s election, demand for health care reform is real and has been part of the public debate for decades.
After the hundreds of millions of dollars Republicans and their corporate allies spent trashing Obamacare, support for the program should be in the tank. It’s not. Yes, there is skepticism and fear of change, but the visceral reaction to the implementation is reserved for those who just want to see the president fail.
My guess is there are going to be glitches to the program, as there are with all big programs, and that we hear about a few isolated horror stories that get a lot of press. But, overall, most people will find only subtle changes and few find the disaster that the GOP is predicting. The real disaster will be for the GOP if they allow those who are frothing at the mouth to drive their political agenda.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >