ObamaCare: Political Trouble for Moderate Democrats?


As Democrats pushed to pass the health care overhaul, many seemed to be operating under the theory that the low popularity of the legislation would quickly turn around after passage. The idea being peddled by top Democrats was that, by the time election day rolled around, the law would become a political winner. Just recently, Politico provided a handy roundup of quotes from Democratic bigwigs predicting the PPACA's quick political success. Just days before passage, for example, White House communications staffer Dan Pfieffer told The New York Times that "if and when this is passed, Democrats will run aggressively on this." Around the same time, President Obama's lead pollster wrote in The Washington Post that  "when it comes to health care and insurance, once reform passes, the tangible benefits Americans will realize will trump the fear-mongering rhetoric opponents are stoking today." Former President Bill Clinton told Netroots Nation that "the minute the president signs the health care reform bill, approval will go up." "

Trust me, this health care thing is a good idea.

Approval didn't go up. Instead, the law has proven consistently unpopular, with a very slight trend toward increased disapproval over the past several months. And now it looks like Democrats who bucked their party and voted against the legislation are doing pretty well at the polls. National Journal's Josh Kraushaar crunched the numbers and found that "Democrats who opposed the bill are in surprisingly decent shape, given the lousy political environment." Meanwhile, the coalition of moderate Democrats who played key, last-minute roles in ensuring that the law would pass are faring far worse:

The picture is not so bright for the Democrats who went along with the White House. Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Fla., a founding member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dogs, never faced a close race in his 14-year congressional career. But after he flipped his position from opposing to supporting the president's health care bill—one of eight Democrats to do so—he barely survived his own primary. Now, his prospects for reelection are dim.

Of the eight who flipped their votes to support the bill, two announced their retirement (Bart Gordon andBrian Baird) and five others are in tough races. The other is Dennis Kucinich, who initially opposed the bill because it didn't have a public option.

Indeed, House Democrats who gave the decisive margin at the end—the so-called Stupak bloc, who held out their support until anti-abortion language was inserted and those who flipped their votes to support the bill—read like a who's who of the most at-risk Democrats.

Would some of those Democrats have been doing better had they voted against the bill? Obviously we'll never get to examine the counterfactual. And the dismal condition of the overall economy would have been a factor in determining voter mood and preference no matter what the result of the health care vote. Either way, though, at this point it's pretty clear that, at the least, that Democrats who thought the law would eventually give them a boost at the polls were fooling themselves.

I argued back in February that passing the law wasn't likely to make it more popular.

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  1. I’m really looking forward to a bloodbath. It has two massive positives: Dem heads will explode, and there can be gridlock. I don’t know which one I like better. Plus, the GOP can’t make excuses any more for why they suck so badly!

    1. Why choose? Root for both. Gridlock AND a C-Span version of Scanners sounds just way too fucking cool.

      1. Who, oh who will be Revok?

        “Ephemerol is creating new scanners.”

        1. I AM REVOK!

          1. I am STILL Joe Montana.


            1. MAHN! MAHN!

            2. Before Monday’s game (which shouldn’t count since he played less than a half) he outpassed every quarterback he faced this season. His team still lost 4 of the 5 games. I don’t think you should blame it on him.

    2. Plus, the GOP can’t make excuses any more for why they suck so badly!

      Didn’t someone say that about the dems when they got to power.

      When your approval rating is less than an acceptable batting average, do you just stop caring what people think?

      1. “”When your approval rating is less than an acceptable batting average, do you just stop caring what people think?””

        Didn’t Bush say he doesn’t care about the polls when his rating were down? Of course, it’s easier when you’re not running for re-election.

    3. Sadly, the Democrats sucking so badly, give the GOP a built in excuse to suck. As long as they don’t suck as bad as the Democrats (a pretty low bar), they can say vote for us or they will get back into power. And considering how badly the Democrats have fucked up, that will be a compelling argument.

      1. But, as Welch keeps harping on – We Are Out Of Money. Even the ratbagging GOP can’t change that.

        1. True. And a few GOP incumbents and gold old boys have met their end in the primary season. The fear of losing an election will get even them to do the right thing sometimes.

      2. “”Sadly, the Democrats sucking so badly, give the GOP a built in excuse to suck.””

        Careful John, that could be a two way street. GOP sucked so bad that it’s excusable for the dems to suck now. I think some dems are trying that angle.

        We are screwed when sure I suck, just not as much as the next guy becomes a positive trait.

        1. The Democrats did have an excuse to suck. But they didn’t have an excuse to suck this much. Think about it. If the Democrats had come into office and done nothing but continue the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq but not done Obamacare or the stimulus, they would have sucked pretty bad. But they wouldn’t have sucked so bad that they deserved this ass kicking or turning the government back over to the Republicans. It took a lot of effort to suck as bad as they have.

          1. “It took a lot of effort to suck as bad as they have.”

            Credit where credit’s due: It takes a certain genius to suck that bad.

    4. Sploding heads are good.

      We’re doing a bacchanal at the BIL’s on Tues. night, with one set tuned to Fox for information and one to MSBNC b/c there will be a pool on whose head explodes first. I hope to God it’s Olby’s but I’ll settle for Matthews’. Other topics for betting will be whether or not Pelosi’s face will move and whether or not Sharon Angle 1) wins and if so 2)says something overtly racist in her acceptance speech. If Dick Morris shows up on Fox, we’ll take bets on how many banalities he’ll utter in a span of five minutes.

      Relatives in London will attend via Skype. We’re going to light up in honor of Prop 19 using some stuff we put away for a friend’s mom’s chemo. We’d said for 30 years that no one needed to smoke a little more than she did but when we finally had an excuse to slip her some pot, we chickened out.

      1. Nah, Matthews will just cry like a little girl. At least that’s what he did when Gore conceded.

  2. Are we almost done with Obamacare? I heard on the radio this morning that his approval rating was something like 37%…Not tooooo gooooooood…


  3. The word on Boyd was that he flipped his vote for union support in the primary. For me, he has become the poster child of my anti-incumbancy views. Also, his attack ads claim his opponent thinks Social Security is a disaster and wants to repeal the 17th Amendment. I think Steve Southerland should have just re-run them with his own “I approve this message” at the end like someone here suggested Rand Paul do with one of Paul Conway’s ads.

  4. Nah. All those people who went to town hall meetings telling their congressmen they didn’t want this passed were a vocal minority. Everyone loves legislation that costs more and gives back less.

    Or…racism? Yeah, let’s go with racism. It’s the functional equivalent of sticking one’s fingers in his ears screaming “I’m not listening to you la la la la la la la!”

  5. Odd how they bought the idea that it would become popular. The political wonk mind’s natural tendency is to assume today’s zeitgeist is fixed in stone no matter how much it contradicted and went against last year’s. They had to go completely against their own nature to accomplish those mental gymnastics.

    1. They and others, including many people on this board, thought it would be popular because every other government program has been. But what they didn’t understand is that Obamacare is not like medicare or social security. It doesn’t just hand out money. It does none of that. Instead it just mandates and regulates. That, unlike writing checks, is not going to be popular.

      1. “They and others, including many people on this board, thought it would be popular because every other government program has been.”

        Every other government program has been popular?


        1. The entitlements are.

        2. “”Every other government program has been popular?””

          Medicare and Social Security are. You don’t see the Rs trying to end those programs. For the most part, they are trying to improve them. Why? Because ending them would get the Rs kicked out of office.

  6. The punishment meted out to those who made ObamaCare a reality cannot be too brutal or comprehensive.

    I’ll be glad to see the end of every single one of the Stupak bloc and the so-called fiscally conservative Blue Dogs (who, oddly, get to keep that label in spite of voting in favor of massive spending bill).

    You get more of what you reward, and less of what you punish.

    1. copywright infringement RC…you will be hearing from my lawyer, Arthur A. “Dumbass”

  7. “Would some of those Democrats have been doing better had they voted against the bill? Obviously we’ll never get to examine the counterfactual.”

    We will never get to live the counter factual. But we can certainly examine it. The fact that those who voted against it are doing better than those who voted for it is pretty good evidence that the Democrats would have been better off if the bill had failed.

    What evidence is there that they are better off now than they would have been? I don’t see any.

    1. Voting for the healthcare bill has created or saved 3 million Democrat Congressional seats.

    2. This much is not speculation, however- almost ZERO Democrats are running on a pro-Obamacare vote. They’re sweeping it under the rug and hoping the voters won’t remember. And their campaign pollsters aren’t idiots.

  8. Former President Bill Clinton told Netroots Nation that “the minute the president signs the health care reform bill, approval will go up.”

    Really, Bill? Everything Obama touches turns to gold/votes? Much to my delight, I think the opposite is increasingly the case.

    1. You’ve got to wonder is Clinton knew that was bullshit when he said that. I wouldn’t put it past him.

  9. The Onion is running a butthurt piece today that everything the Democrat-majority Congress did over that past two years are major accomplishments, but they will lose in the election because the American public are too stoopid to be thankful to their benevolent masters.

    I love it when the Onion can’t mask their lefty bent with satire.

    1. “”I love it when the Onion can’t mask their lefty bent with satire.””

      The Onion has a lefty bend? That’s satire in it’s self. Which way does Mad magazine bend?

  10. Alt alt-text:

    “Last week Hillary told me she actually has a penis she’s kept tucked all these years. She showed it to me and I swear it was THIS BIG!”

    1. “… so the best advice I can give you is never cheat with a woman who is thinner, smarter, or better looking than your wife. Oh, and have the Secret Service steal and burn whatever she was wearing when you hook up.”

      1. Smarter? Better looking? Damn, Bill, what is left?

        1. Just the strange.

    2. The thing I like about the alt text supplied is that I could just hear Bubba saying that and believe that the current president could be convinced that advice was sincere.

      But, since we’re going there: “There I was, with her ass in my hands…”

    3. “So then I put my lips on her newcular titties and just went…BRRRRRRRRRRRRUNNNNNNNSKKKKIII!!!!”

  11. The problem for Democrats with these entitlement schemes is a bare cupboard. Social Security and Medicare were both designed for Cash Now-Pay Later.

    The current health-care scheme doesn’t do that. There is no trough of money for re-distro within months of its passage the way other entitlements rolled out. And there can’t be again; Americans would not go for another payroll line-item showing up on their checks. The Dems know this, so they tried as best they could to structure Dr. Obama for Max Bennies now, pay later.

    Trouble is, the bennies aren’t cash, they’re just laws. If you didn’t have health insurance before, you don’t now. If you did have it, you might not have it later. Not much else to see for “facts on the ground.”

    The Dems seemed to have woken up on this and tried to mail a couple million old folks $250 bucks or something in the last month as part PPACA; too little too late.

    The Dems are learning the hard way that if you’re going to bribe voters into more taxes and lesbian-Harvard-Professor sourced oversight, you gotta actually have some cash to bribe them with. Or at least free Viagra and cock-pumps, even the Republicans figured that out in 2004.

    1. Democrats will never, ever again go for a payroll tax for anything for one simple reason: It’s not progressive. Even now, they’re scheming to shore up Medicare and Social Security through income taxes, which are, of course, progressive.

  12. From yesterday’s Wall Street Journal:

    More than half the members of the Blue Dog Coalition?the organization of moderate to conservative Democrats in the House?are in peril in next week’s election, a stark indicator of how the balloting could produce a Congress even more polarized than the current one.

    The Blue Dogs are often seen as a kind of human bridge, connecting left and right in the House. But that bridge is imperiled by the coming Republican wave in midterm elections, the most stark example of how the midterms are likely to weaken Capitol Hill’s political center.

    It goes on to make the point that some of the GOP challengers are going to be “more partisan” than the Blue Dogs were, but I find it facepalm-inducing to imply that the only party that can “reach across the aisle” is the Democrats.

    1. The Dems don’t do it because they know full well that every time they sucker team red into doing it, team red draws back a stump.

    2. The Blue Dogs filled a much needed void.

  13. Here in Virginia’s 2nd District, the NAACP is withholding support from Democrat Glenn Nye on account of his opposition to Obama’s health care bill is “racist,” racism being the only possible reason anyone could oppose it. I’m not kidding.

    1. What are his chances of winning?

      1. http://www.realclearpolitics.c…..-1273.html

        He’s polling well under 50%

        1. Nye only won because of the particular cluelessness of his “R” opponent last go round – I actually encountered her at a polling place and talked with her a few minutes. Most vapid human being I’ve met in quite a long time.

    2. You see, that’s why you are a racist, because you just don’t get it. As a generalization, anybody who doesn’t get it is automatically a racist. If you don’t get what I am saying, then you are obviously a racist. Get it?

      1. Actually, I didn’t make it clear enough for those who don’t get it: It you get it, you don’t, and if you don’t, you do. Something to do with a Catch 22, if I get it, which I probably don’t.

      2. Why yes. I get it.

  14. Yesterday, The View’s Joy Behar said “She’s [Sharron Angle] going to hell, this bitch!” Behar also compared Angle’s latest ad to a “Hitler Youth” commercial.

    So today, Angle sent Behar flowers, with a note thanking Behar for helping her raise $150,000 online yesterday.

    So what was Behar’s gracious response? “I’d like to point out that those flowers were picked by illegal immigrants,” she tartly said. “And they’re not voting for you, bitch.”

    (One would hope they’re not voting at all, actually.)

    And when Barbara Walters told Behar she shouldn’t be saying that anyone was going to be in Hell, Behar responded with another logical tour de force, “I don’t believe in Hell. And I don’t believe she’s going there.”

    “She [Angle] could have taken that $500 [Behar’s guess for the cost of the flowers] and maybe had some sensitivity training with it. ? Don’t send me flowers, Sharron. Put your money where your mouth is,” Behar said.

    Who wants to bet that Harry Reid campaign staffers are already calling up Behar and begging her to stop being Angle’s best fundraiser?


    1. It’s going to be a long six year for Behar if Angle wins. Coupled with an O’Donnell win (however unlikely that might be) might prompt an aneurysm.

      1. We should be so lucky.

    2. Yeah, that Joy Behar – class act all the way.

      I never have found her to be anything but a screechy, annoying yenta.

    3. They can see the writing on the wall; the bloodbath is coming. At least I get this particular enjoyment out of something that I otherwise despise.

      1. I think Beher is going to have some kind of a meltdown. Seriously, the woman really seems to have lost it.

        1. She says the Tea Partiers are violent, but Behar assaults my eyes and ears and my very sense of justice simply by being alive.

    4. yup just donated $35 after reading this

  15. “The idea being peddled by top Democrats was that, by the time election day rolled around, the law would become a political winner.”

    Anyone who believed this is a Darwin Award winner who will receive his prize Tuesday.

    1. Death from a snapped cable line that dismembers them at the femoral artery?! COOL!!

  16. Someday when someone finally figures out what’s in the law, everyone’s going to love it. Really.

  17. Former President Bill Clinton told Netroots Nation that “the minute the president signs the health care reform bill, approval will go up.”

    Bill is a canny operator, and is no friend of Barack’s. I wonder if he wasn’t playing a double game, here.

    (1) Weaken Barack and the Chicago machine by egging them on to a monumental short-term error (passing ObamaCare), thus paving the way for Hillary and the Clinton machine down the road.

    What does Bill care if the current Dems get their asses handed to them? How does that hurt Bill (and Hillary)?

    (2) ObamaCare, by instituting a massive new entitlement and hordes of new government jobs, is a long-term winner for the Dems as the party of dependency, wealth transfer, and state employees. That’s long been Dem gospel, anyway.

    Bill gets to reap the strategic benefits, while people who are not his friends pay the price.

    1. You give Clinton too much credit. He is a mainline lefty on this stuff. I think he actually believed it.

      1. I think we will soon see Hillary testing the 2012 waters…

        1. Unless she can turn blacks against Obama, I don’t see how she wins. If she won the primary, blacks would stay home in droves during the general election and that would kill her against even the weakest Republican opponent. She would have to hope for a credible third party candidate or the Obamasiah getting mad and taking his awesome self back to Chicago and not running.

          1. She wins the primaries. It wasn’t blacks that gave the nomination to Obama.

            1. And 2012 is a ways out so between now and then, anything can happen.

              The big concern about her in 2008 was that she had no foriegn policy experience (and Obama did???). Well she has that now. And she is willing to play the centrist.

              As I said, “testing the 2012 waters”.

              1. I don’t think Obama is going to run. No one believes me. But I bet he doesn’t.

                1. I wouldn’t take that bet. That’s all the more reason for Bill to make the claims he did. Just prepping Obama for a fall.

              2. Don’t forget that the Dems attacked the Republican vice presidential candidate for being under-qualified. Despite having more executive experience than both of their candidates combined.

            2. Yes it was. Hillary won the primaries, but Obama won the caucuses- and did it with absolutely MASSIVE ACORN/SEIU fraud.

      2. You give Clinton too much credit.

        I’m just giving him credit for being narcissitic, self-serving, and Machiavellian. I’m comfortable with that.

        1. You give him credit for breaking with lefty group think and realizing this pile of crap was going to be really unpopular. That is a lot of credit.

          1. My impression was that Bill Clinton never believed a damn thing other than how to con a willing audience.

            I never figured him for ideological purity.

            1. he wants to win. doesn’t matter what the game is.

              He probably see’s the blue-collar whites turning on Obama and thinks “they still love me. i win”

              1. Bill “Triangulation” Clinton was always playing one or more factions against some other collection of factions of both parties.

    2. I think they just couldn’t distinguish the real outrage from the faux screeching that occurs every time a party-line fight happens.

      When suburbanites are skipping the kids’ soccer practice and showing up in twos and threes to chew their Congressman’s ass at an overflowing town hall — that’s real. People showing up in buses, probably faux.

      1. YOU LIE!!!

      2. When average people in large numbers get pissed enough to pay attention to politics and show up at a local Congress Critter town hall meeting, that is a big deal. When a bunch of professional lefties get together to march about something, that is not a big deal since marching is what they do.

        1. ANd play tambourines. It’s not a real rally without tambourines.

          1. And giant papier mache puppet heads.

  18. Oy! Jab her.

  19. There will be brief amusement election night, watching the MSNBC crowd (all of whom have Obama’s ballprints on his/her chin) weep and wet themselves.

    After that, I expect the amusement will end and the establishment will be back to its usual bullshit.

    1. Chris Matthews breaking down and crying on live TV? Been there, seen that – Gore concession speech, 2000.

    2. The MSNBC “crowd”? Well, I guess three IS a crowd.

    3. Oh there’s the day-after, chin-tuggers, in every paper about how “UNGOVERNABLE” the American people are. I can’t frikkin wait.

      That word just makes my pants tight.

      1. How many headlines will use the word tantrum?

        1. Hey! They stole that from me!

    4. They probably already have their narratives on paper in case of a worst-case scenario:

      1) The people of [Insert State Here] are racist for electing [Insert Winning Candidate Here]

      2) The American people are stupid (I know this one is often said on the left, but this time it will be said by people who you don’t expect to say it)

      Since liberals and liberal policies are infallible, the list probably contains at least a dozen more points all centered around blaming voters, Republicans, and everyone but themselves and their policies for their overwhelming defeat.

  20. Instead, the law has proven consistently unpopular, with a very slight trend toward increased disapproval over the past several months.

    But only because it doesn’t provide for the building of roads.

    1. Other than the road to nowhere. . .

  21. This week my company did a pretty good job explaining why my health insurance payments are going up 11% per check. That type of talk should make people see that free healthcare is not free.

    1. My premiums are going up 47%. No shit.
      Health Reform, you’re doin’ a heck of a job!

    2. In our business meeting today, our comany president was practically wetting himself because our health insurance was only going to go up 7.5% And, last year, it stayed the same. I count myself lucky.

  22. https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?postID=801218115055925213&blogID=6329595&isPopup=false&page=2

    Surprised Reason hasn’t blogged more about the incident at the Paul rally. Althouse pretty much pegs it I think.

    1. Says the link doesn’t work.

      1. http://althouse.blogspot.com/

        Top post here. And the link works for me.

    2. I suspect it’s a fake “incident”. It’s a lefty favorite. At the very least, they should stop calling it a “stomping”. Anybody who would call that a “stomping” has never been in or even seen a real fight.

    3. Probably because the “stompee” took so much obvious pleasure in being attacked and turned into The Ultimate Victim of Those Racist Teabaggers.

  23. Isn’t it troubling that so many politicians cared more about whether it would be popular and whether they could run on it rather than whether it would make our healthcare system better?

    No, I supposed it isn’t troubling–that’s just par for the course. Which is exactly why politicians shouldn’t be trusted to make decisions about my healthcare.

    1. Which is exactly why politicians shouldn’t be trusted to make decisions about…???

      Exactly what???

  24. Suderman fails to mention that, in most cases, the Dems who opposed the health care bill were exactly those who were from Republican leaning districts and were likely to face tough election prospects regardless. The “safe” Dems all supported the bill from the beginning, as there was no incentive for them to make trouble with the Speakress.

    1. ‘Speakress’??? Spectress?? Would you fuck this creature – would you allow yourself to be fucked by it? Let’s find out what 500,000 or so Friscans would do. (They hate when we call the city ‘Frisco’)

      1. We hate a lot of things.

        1. What is your favorite one? As a Frisco-ite?

          1. They really seem to hate being called Betty, not sure why.

  25. I thought the purpose of a politician was to win elections. That would explain everything from special interest legislation to an ability to change one’s principles whenever politicially conveniant. Aside from their vote, how many politicians ever stick to what they say and do on the floor. Obama Care, TARP, Iraq, PATRIOT Act, No Child Left Behind.

  26. Isn’t “moderate” Democrat an oxymoron, anyway?

  27. I’d have to say :
    Roll back of Health Care Reform = another Lehman Brothers of U.S. economy.
    Middle class & housing market collapse & an irrevocable cash under the mattress.

  28. T-minus 6 days until we get watch Rachel Maddow “Sitting Shiva.”

    Word on the street says next Tuesday “Hannity” will officially change its name to “The Super Terrific Happy Hour”.

  29. I love how they take it for granted that the economy would be in as bad a shape as it is now if the Dems had abandoned health care early and had dealt with next years tax rates already.

    Liberal friends say the uncertainty argument is BS, to which I reply, then go ahead and invest your money. Shuts ’em up.

  30. Go to http://www.docs4patientcare.org and view a video showing the Secretary of HHS will be our doctors’ boss under Obamacare. A list of all of the opponents of the 219 House Democrats who voted to pass Obamacare in March 2010 is also posted on this site.

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