The New York Times has a story about a meeting between David Axelrod and Congressional Democrats aimed at tailoring a message to respond to GOP attacks on their health care proposals. This article’s implication is that the GOP’s offensive is more robust than the impression I have gotten recently, especially from Senate Republicans (see my piece from yesterday).
The main thing to keep in mind is that the Democrats have the votes to pass health care legislation, the momentum, grassroots organization, and for now, support of the special interest groups. The only way to derail the ObamaCare Express would be to generate tremendous public opposition and/or for the coalition of special interests to break apart once details start emerging. There are definitely fault lines. Most notably, it’ll be hard to get insurers to go along with legislation that includes the creation of a government-run plan that would be designed to drive them out of business, yet liberals are insisting on such an approach.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the American people would be opposed to the Democrats’ health care goals if they truly understood that it would inevitably lead to a government takeover of the health care system, rationing, longer wait times, broad-based tax increases, and unsustainable government debt. But the problem is that I don’t have much confidence in the ability of GOP messaging machine to beat the Obama messaging machine. Republicans have yet to win any major battle against Obama, the public still trusts Obama more, and the media is on his side. Barring an unforeseen scandal or international crisis that distracts Obama and erodes public confidence in him, this is likely to continue to be the case as the health care debate heats up over the next few months.
Of course, I hope I’m wrong about the GOP’s messaging, and expect to spend this year doing everything I can to expose the flaws in the government-run approach to health care. And it would also help if grassroots conservatives started to show the same level of passion about the health care issue as they have on issues such as immigration and the Fairness Doctrine.
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