The Politics Of Calling For Repeal of Health Care Reform

While they are unable to govern, conservatives have certainly won the spin war on issues ranging from the stimulus to health care reform. They have fooled many into believing that Barack Obama raised their taxes when he actually lowered them, and that Obama rather than George Bush is responsible for the current deficit and unemployment. They have large percentages of the population believing the stimulus did not work, largely because they had no qualms about making such false claims during the year it took for us to have good evidence of how successful it was. By distorting the content of the health care legislation they have large numbers of people saying they oppose the bill despite agreeing with its content when asked specific questions.

At the moment the Republicans appear far stronger than we would have expected a year ago, but some political strategists believe that the “repeal the bill” mantra might backfire against them. Some Republican candidates are even backing away from “repeal the bill” cries:

For Republicans, urging a full repeal of the law will energize conservative activists whose turnout is crucial this year. But it also carries risks, say strategists in both parties.

Repeal is politically and legally unlikely, and some grass-roots activists may feel disillusioned by a failed crusade.

“It’s just not going to happen,” Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said of repeal in a speech Wednesday. “It’s a great political issue,” he said, but opponents will never muster the 67 votes needed in the 100-member Senate.

Over the next few months, Democrats say, Americans will learn of the new law’s benefits, and anger over its messy legislative pedigree may fade.

Republican leaders are moving cautiously, wary of angering their hard-right base. In recent public comments, they have quietly played down the notion of repealing the law while emphasizing claims that it will hurt jobs, the economy and the deficit.

Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said his team began pressing Republican candidates months ago to state whether they support repeal of the health care legislation. Most of them have, and Democrats plan to use it against them this fall.

“You never want to wage a campaign telling voters you want to take something away from them,” Menendez said.

In Illinois, where there’s a spirited battle to fill the Senate seat Obama once held, Kirk recently said he would “lead the effort” to repeal the measure. But on Tuesday, when asked repeatedly by reporters whether he still wants it repealed, Kirk would say only that he opposes the new taxes and Medicare cuts associated with the law.

While Democrats would be in an ever worse situation of they could not pass anything, health care reform can still wind up to be a political liability. I believe that attacks on health care reform will work in the favor of Republicans, even if they back away from calls to repeal the bill, for these reasons:

  1. While there are some immediate benefits, most changes from the health care reform bill will not be seen for a few more years
  2. People will not see that the false claims of the Republicans about health care reform are untrue for a few more years
  3. The bill does not fix all problems, and from now on Republicans will blame any problems with health care on Obama and the Democrats, regardless if this year’s legislation has any bearing on the problem
  4. Republicans and the right wing noise machine are far better at distorting the truth than Democrats are at explaining their policies

House Keeping Note

I’ve had to temporarily increase use of the cache on the blog the last couple of days. This could lead to problems seeing new posts and comments. Signing in will increase the chances of seeing new material when posted as the cache works differently for people who have signed in and those who have not. If you use a RSS reader, subscribing to the blog’s feed is another way to be certain of picking up all blog posts.

In case of serious problems and the blog is down for a prolonged period information (and possibly new posts) can be found here:

I’ll also put up a notice on the older emergency site here:

Some Of The Most Ridiculous Quotes To Come Out Of The Health Care Debate

I’ve posted a series of jokes coming out of the health care debate but some of the things said by politicians are fight wing pundits are just as funny. Here are some examples:

“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.” —Sarah Palin

“To our seniors, I have a message for you: you’re going to die sooner.” –Sen. Tom Coburn

“If ObamaCare passes, that free insurance card that’s in people’s pockets is gonna be as worthless as a Confederate dollar after the war between the states — the Great War of Yankee Aggression.” –Rep. Paul Broun

“Exercise freaks … are the ones putting stress on the health care system.” —Rush Limbaugh

More to come.

Bill Maher on Socialized Medicine

If conservatives get to call universal healthcare ‘socialized medicine,’ I get to call private, for-profit healthcare ‘soulless, vampire bastards making money off human pain.'” –Bill Maher

Another top joke from the health care debate.

Jay Leno on Getting Conservatives To Support Health Care Reform

“Of course, a lot of right wingers are very upset about this because they believe this health care bill will cost a lot of money. You know what I think? Just pretend it’s another unnecessary war. You’ll feel better about it already.” –Jay Leno

Another top joke from the health care debate.

Craig Ferguson on Rush Limbaugh

Continuing a series of  top jokes from the health care debate:

“Rush Limbaugh says if the health care bill passes, he will leave the country. The Democrats are upset, because if they knew that, they would have passed the bill years ago.” –Craig Ferguson

Another Top Joke From The Health Care Dabate

“To help sell this plan to the American people, President Obama said it’s the same plan Congress has. See, I think that’s a mistake. I think that’s why a lot of people opposed it. Have you seen members of Congress? Do they look healthy to you? Anybody here want to be as fat as Barney Frank? Huh? You want to be as orange as John Boehner? I don’t think so.” –Jay Leno

Republicans Have More Sex Scandals, Especially With Underage Boys

The Daily Beast compared  sex scandals by party over the past twenty years. By their count, Republicans have more, especially with underage boys, while Democrats have bigger scandals and more with underage girls.

• The number sex scandals has increased dramatically over the past few decades, thanks to technology, new press standards and a post-Clinton belief that everything is fair game.

• Republicans have more scandals (32 to 26), but Democrats have bigger ones, based on our methodology (13 out of the top 20).

• Democrats tend to have more problems with harassment, staffers and underage girls; Republicans tend to have more problems with prostitutes, hypocrisy and underage boys.

Sarkozy Finds US Health Care Debate To Be Astonishing

I often find it amusing when conservative blogs root for conservative parties in European elections, seeing them as their counterparts. The current American conservative movement has moved so far to the right, and adopted so many views which are counter to reality, that they are quite different creatures from European conservatives. Often the Democrats, while center-left in the United States, would be on the right side of the political spectrum in much of the world.The idea voiced by American conservatives that Barack Obama is a socialist is found to be absurd by Europeans, along with anyone else who knows what socialism means.

Conservatives have shown outrage against the recent health care reform legislation, generally ignorant of the fact that it is a fairly conservative plan utilizing ideas from the Heritage Institute and promoted by the Republican Party of 1993. Many conservatives have also been big fans of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Of course, Sarkozy, as would any sane European leader living in a country with a far more progressive health care plan, would would not dream of adopting the failing  system we are trying to get away from.

Kevin Drum and Steve Benen were also amused to see Sarkozy’s comments on health care at Columbia:

“Welcome to the club of states who don’t turn their back on the sick and the poor,” Sarkozy said, referring to the U.S. health care overhaul signed by President Barack Obama last week.

From the European perspective, he said, “when we look at the American debate on reforming health care, it’s difficult to believe.”

“The very fact that there should have been such a violent debate simply on the fact that the poorest of Americans should not be left out in the streets without a cent to look after them … is something astonishing to us.”

Then to hearty applause, he added: “If you come to France and something happens to you, you won’t be asked for your credit card before you’re rushed to the hospital.”

This still might shock some conservatives but Sarkozy’s reputation among them is already tarnished. Sarkozy abandoned some conservative economic ideas when they failed, contrary to the American conservative philosophy of treating their ideas as a religion which cannot be altered, regardless of how much their ideas conflict with reality.

The April Fool From Alaska

This is quite appropriate. Sarah Palin will be hosting her first show on Fox on April 1. Mediaite reports:

Sarah Palin will take her first stab at television hosting when she fronts a new Fox News series, Real American Stories, premiering Thursday April 1 at 10pmET.

Guests for the first show include country singer Toby Keith, rapper/actor LL Cool J and Jack Welch. Get excited.

The show will “focus on a range of such stories including a Marine Medal of Honor recipient who gave his live to save his comrades.” But also there will be the celebrity guests – a very broad range of celebrity guests.

Airing in place of On The Record with Greta Van Susteren, the prime time spot ensures a large audience. And depending on just how large, we could see a lot more of Palin hosting on Fox News.

I hope her show is very successful–so successful that she gives up the absurd idea that she has any place in government. As far as I’m concerned she can host television shows and make millions as long as she does not run for national office again. If she wants to speak at tea party meetings that’s also fine. Let them get tarnished by association with her.