Obamacare

Are Republicans Going Soft on Obamacare?

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credit: Gage Skidmore / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

In March of last year, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) stood on stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference  and declared that "Obamacare should be repealed root and branch." But in May, when he was asked about whether Kentucky's health insurance exchange, Kynect—the local face of Obamacare—should be dismantled, he insisted that the two weren't related. "I think that's unconnected to my comments about the overall questions here," he said. More recently, when McConnell was questioned by The New York Times about what to do with people in his home state who now receive coverage through the law's Medicaid expansion, he responded, "I don't know that it will be taken away from them." Root and branch repeal is starting to look more like twig and leaf.

McConnell is, of course, still broadly opposed to Obamacare, as are most residents of Kentucky. His opponent, Democrat Alison Grimes, has been delicate in her support of the law, and clearly believes that, overall, Obamacare is a political liability. But there is a shift happening. It's not that Republicans are abandoning opposition to the law. But they appear increasingly uncertain about how to deal with it now that it has arrived.

McConnell is only the most prominent example. Rep. Tom Cotton, who is challenging Democratic Senator Mark Pryor in Arkansas, continues to state his opposition to Obamacare. But he has also avoided directly answering questions about the state's participation in the Medicaid expansion, even in the state's modified Medicaid "private option." Asked last month about people who are already covered through the health law, Cotton said, "We'll see what we can do about reforming it, and potentially protecting people who have already received some of the benefits." Is that support for repeal? Or reform? 

There are more examples. Pennsylvania GOP Gov. Tom Corbett recently agreed to a modified Medicaid expansion. And as TPM's Dylan Scott recently noted, Republicans legislators in Indiana, Wyoming, and Tennessee are looking at ways to participate too.

Part of what's happening here is that, in some sense, Obamacare's Medicaid expansion has become a separate issue from the rest of the law, thanks to the Supreme Court's decision to allow states to opt out without jeopardizing all of their existing federal Medicaid funding. Obviously, the Medicaid expansion is a significant component of the law, one of its two main vehicles for coverage expansion, along with subsidized private insurance in exchanges. But at least for now, the choice for a state to build an exchange is a choice of who runs the exchange—the state or the federal government. With the Medicaid expansion, the choice is whether or not to expand coverage, which makes it different in kind. Add to that the fact that hospitals are major employers in many districts, and Republican legislators often have close ties to local doctors and the hospital industry, which generally supports the expansion, and that makes it a fraught issue for at least some GOP politicians.

But the bigger issue is that Republicans never really had a post-Obamacare battle plan. Late last summer, at a small private event, I asked a senior Hill Republican what would happen after January 1, 2014, when the health law's coverage expansion went live. The response I got was that something would have to change, and that Republicans would finally, after years of promising to propose and promote a replacement health law, have to figure out how to describe what they wanted to do next. There would be a reckoning. There would have to be.

Then October arrived, the exchanges crashed out of the gate, insurers started canceling plans that people liked, and the GOP decided they didn't need to figure out what to do next. Obamacare's crash saved them from having to decide.

At the end of the month, with the exchange still in disarray, and hopes for a quick fix fading, I asked a House GOP aide what the party would do next when, inevitably, the mess cleared up. Here's what I was told:

"There's just no appetite to lay out an entirely new agenda of ideas," a House GOP staffer told me in October. Instead, the focus is on "expanding existing criticism" and "continuing to bludgeon the administration" over problems with the current law. "If Republicans were interested in fixing health care, they would have been talking about it much earlier," the staffer said. "They weren't."

The party's current confusion about how to respond to the coming of Obamacare coverage expansion is, in large part, the consequence of this years-long refusal to develop any alternative policy preference. Republicans have long known that they are against Obamacare, but that's all they knew. There have been other plans and proposals that have popped up and sparked some conversation, but none have gained traction with leadership, or become fixtures in GOP agendas or talking points.

But this isn't the whole story. There are other factors in play as well. And it's not just the GOP that is uncertain about how to proceed.

There has been a sort of settling of opinion on Obamacare in recent months; it's clear that it's unpopular, and that the repeated attempts to message into success aren't working. But with the follies of open enrollment behind us, and the most obvious website problems mitigated, it's also less of a priority than it once was. As The Washington Post's Greg Sargent, who has catalogued emerging Republican slipperiness on Obamacare, pointed out yesterday, the polls are consistent in revealing public opposition to the law—and yet it's not the most pressing issue.

That settling has left both parties in a transition period, unsure of exactly how to talk about a law that remains unpopular and yet also difficult to fully repeal. Republicans continue to state opposition to it, especially when talking to the base, and yet are loath to support wiping out all of its benefits, especially for home-state constituents. Democrats, in turn, voice support for the law, especially when talking to activists and donors, but publicly advocate fixing the system—though usually without providing much detail about specific fixes. You can see this dynamic in the McConnell race. "It is not exactly a mutual nonaggression pact," writes Jonathan Martin in The New York Times, "but neither McConnell nor Grimes has an interest in focusing on the Affordable Care Act."

The result is a convergence of sorts, and also a kind of wary standoff, in which both parties are grappling with the fact that Obamacare is unpopular, but also that millions of people are now receiving its benefits. Neither side knows quite how to respond. It's like watching two boxers circle each other in the ring, holding in defensive positions.

I'm not sure where this goes, or how this ends. Republicans have repeatedly promised, in public, to move beyond repeal to replace, and privately many will even say that reform is more likely, but so far, work on plans that would do so has occurred largely at the margins. At least for now, we're likely to see the holding pattern continue; the GOP is almost openly running a no-agenda strategy in the mid-terms this fall. Much will depend on how the second and third open-enrollment seasons go, the results of the 2014 election, the messaging and policy choices made by the party's next presidential nominee, and the outcome of the race for the White House in 2016.

But it's at least possible to imagine that the current convergence continues, and eventually results in a melding of the two party's stances, leaving much of Obamacare's basic infrastructure, including the exchanges, in place but altering them substantially and using them, in a kind of ju-jitsu move, as a vehicle to reform the rest of the entitlement system, which is ultimately a much bigger fiscal problem. That's essentially what the Manhattan Institute's Avik Roy has proposed in his recent health entitlement overhaul plan, which would deregulate the exchanges, end the individual mandate, transition Medicaid and Medicare to the exchanges, and, according to one estimate, could expand coverage even more than Obamacare. 

The danger with that sort of plan is that no one will like it—that Republicans will see it as a concession to Obamacare, and Democrats as a fundamental attack on entitlements. Certainly it's not something that the base on either side is willing to accept right now. But it's also the sort of clever compromise that could eventually find backers on both sides of the aisle, especially as Obamacare settles in further.

It wouldn't be root and branch repeal, and Republicans and their allies would need to accept that. But, to extend the metaphor a bit, it might be something more ambitious and arguably more important—a plan that, yes, leaves Obamacare's roots in place, but instead replants the rest of the garden around it.

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  1. Unkynected

  2. So McConnell is a twig and berries. Shocked, I am.

    1. McConnell is Senator Bacon.

      As in he brings home the…

      That’s all he has going for him. I wish he could have been primaried, because now KY has Giant Douche vs Turd Sandwich to an extreme.

      1. It is up the voters. McConnell would repeal his own stay of execution if he thought it would keep him in office. Ultimately, he and a lot of others are going to support whatever they think is going to keep them in office.

        If the voters make it clear that repeal is the only thing that will, McConnell will support a repeal.

        1. Uh, maybe the voters like the idea of being covered with health insurance? Just maybe…consider it.

          1. Health Insurance Coverage would be grand. What does Obamacare have to do with that? The bill is about power and control. The bill is not about affordable healthcare, or choices in health care. Owned my own business ten years ago … had more choice then. The ACA is a crock.

  3. Of course the Stupid Party is going to make good and sure they get their greasy fingerprints on the worst legislation in the past long, long while.

    Why would they let their colleagues on TEAM BE RULED take all the blame? This is just professional courtesy on their part, really. Otherwise, people might actually start holding parties responsible for what they do. And we can’t have that.

    1. They are not being the stupid party here. They are being the unprincipled party. This is not stupid, at least from the stand point of raw politics. All offering or agreeing to a fix would do is let the Democrats off the hook.

      1. All offering or agreeing to a fix would do is let the Democrats off the hook.

        Isn’t that what essentially what they are doing? To the extent they are saying anything, they are now saying they want to save parts of the law. They’ve moved beyond “repeal” to “mend it, don’t end it.”

        1. Not really because no one is paying any attention to what they are saying. Unless they offer a no kidding plan to replace it, do you think anyone but the worst political nerd will have any idea what Boehner or any of these clowns are saying? I don’t.

          The fact is that right now all the average voter knows is that the Democrats passed Obamacare without any Republican votes and Obamacare sucks. That is it. The best thing the Republicans ever did was shut down the government to try and stop it. That made sure the entire country was reminded of whose mess this is.

          1. The fact is that right now all the average voter knows is that the Democrats passed Obamacare without any Republican votes and Obamacare sucks because of Republican obstructionism.

            1. Oh bullshit. If the “its the Republicans fault” dog would hunt, the Democrats wouldn’t have no hope of taking the House and likely going to lose the Senate this November. If that dog hunted, the Democrats would still hold the fucking Congress. They would have never lost it in the first place.

            2. I’m sure enough LIVs believe the obstructionism trope to insulate the Dems against electoral catastrophe.

              Don’t forget, the Repubs lost House and Senate seats in 2012. Some of that may have been coattails, redistricting, etc., but in any event as time passes and propaganda piles up, this has become/is becoming a “Washington” thing in the minds of voters, not a “Dem” thing.

              Nah. Obama won his bet. OCare is going nowhere, and the Repubs are going to start “fixing” it.

              1. In 2010, the Dems had 59 seats in the Senate and the biggest majority in the House since LBJ. IN 2015, likely they will be a minority in the senate and have fewer House seats than at any time since the 50s. And they will no longer own even close to a majority of state houses and governorships.

                “Catasrtrophy” is a relative term. Call those results what you will. But they sure are not good whatever they are.

                Obama completely fucked the Democratic party. He also made the political environment completely toxic to any big new government program. Even the Democrats won’t try another obamacare again.

                I guess he won the bet to put his name on that. But I am not seeing how he won much more. You may think Obama is a genius. But I bet you the Democrats in Congress and the state houses don’t see it that way.

              2. I hate you because you are correct

  4. There is no appetite because it doesn’t make any political sense to lay out a plan until 2016 and maybe not even then. Suppose the Republicans had done the right thing and actually presented a full on plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. The Democrats and their media operatives would have happily changed the subject of the national conversation from the disaster that is Obamacare to lying about how the Republican plan wants to kill puppies and throw grandmothers in the street. It would have immediately put the Republicans on the defensive and allowed the Democrats to duck out of responsibility for the Obamacare disaster.

    That sucks. In a perfect world both parties would be forcefully advocating for a positive plan rather than just playing defense and destroying the other guy’s ideas. We don’t live in a perfect world.

    This also points to the complete disaster of passing a major reform without a single vote for the opposition party. If the Democrats hadn’t been such jackasses and come up with a plan that at least a few Republicans could vote for, the Republicans would share at least some of the responsibility for the current situation and thus have some motivation to try and fix it. As it is, the Republicans have no responsibility and thus have no incentive to bail the Democrats out by trying to fix it. All a fix would do would make Republicans take some of the blame for whatever results. Why do that?

    1. There is no appetite because it doesn’t make any political sense to lay out a plan until 2016 and maybe not even then.

      IOW, leave it in place indefinitely. Like I said, the Stupid Party.

      Obama has outsmarted them. He won his bet that once it was passed, it would be permanent.

      As it is, the Republicans have no responsibility and thus have no incentive to bail the Democrats out by trying to fix it.

      Well, they are promoting the HIEs (McConnell saying they shouldn’t go away), and trying to get on the Medicaid gravy train.

      Assuming they take the Senate, the Repubs are going to have to do something. Their current plan only works as long as they can blame the Senate for not passing a blanket repeal. Once that goes away, they either have to pass a blanket repeal (which they are signaling ain’t gonna happen), or start passing fixes.

      1. Obama has outsmarted them. He won his bet that once it was passed, it would be permanent.

        Obama couldn’t outsmart a house plant. He set the Democrats up to own the entire healthcare system. That is not a good thing. He is making them into a perminent minority party.

        For it to be clever you have to believe the bullshit that it is a good thing for really anyone or will lead to some kind socialist transformation. No it won’t. The best case is that it will linger on causing harm and destroying any apatite for any major reform amongst the public. That is the best case scenario for the Democrats. The worst case is it is such a disaster they have to repeal it themselves as their gentry liberal and public sector supporters demand it.

        I can’t figure out RC why you think these are so smart. They are morons living news cycle to news cycle.

        1. Obama outsmarted them. But in a very stupid way.

        2. I can’t figure out RC why you think these are so smart.

          They are only smart compared to the Repubs, John.

      2. Assuming they take the Senate, the Repubs are going to have to do something.

        Sure they will. They will pass the really obvious and easy fixes and force Obama to either veto popular fixes or eat shit and have to admit he fucked up.

        You completely over estimate Obama. He is a narcissistic idiot. He will never sign a fix. He will never admit he was wrong. Never. When the Republicans take the Senate two things will happen. First, Senators up for election in 16 will now have to vote on these issues. Right now Harry Reid is keeping it from coming to a vote and allowing Dem Senators to duck the issue. When that ends, the various fix bills will become “bipartisan”. And second, when Obama vetoes them the media will no longer be able to call it a “partisan issue”.

        If your thinking were correct, the Democrats would want to lose the Senate. And further, according to you above the Democrats are not going to lose the senate because the public blames every failure on Republican obstructionism, whatever that is. Yet, the Democrats seem pretty afraid of losing the Senate. I think they understand the consequences of that better than you do.

        1. They will pass the really obvious and easy fixes

          So we are in agreement that Repubs are going to mend it, don’t end it, and will thus put their fingerprints on OCare and relieve Dems of whatever lingering partisan taint OCare has.

          Really, John, I don’t know why you are arguing with me on this.

          1. No they won’t mend it because Obama is too stupid to accept victory. That is what you don’t get. He will veto those fixes. He is unable to admit he is wrong about anything or ever accept half a loaf. He will veto any attempt to fix this or make demands that even the Republicans won’t be able to stomach.

            You really seem not to understand just how bull headed and stupid he is. And also that he doesn’t give a fuck about the Democratic Party or what happens after he leaves office. All he cares about is his program and he isn’t going to agree to change his legacy achievement one bit.

            1. Well, which is it? Either they won’t mend it, or they will pass obvious and easy fixes? I don’t think you can have it both ways.

              1. They will pass easy fixes that will then be vetoed. They can have it both ways if Obama won’t sign the fixes.

                1. Right – the idea that the GOP wants things that are good for the common people in a misnomer. What they want is to steer as much money and power as possible to the war machine and resource extractors. They also enjoy steering big money to the medical-industrial complex, which is why no cost for health care is too much for them (we are, by far, paying the most in the world and not getting our monies worth).

                  Of course, turn the clock back a a couple years and remember the ACA is based on a plan that came out of the Heritage Foundation…approved by the Newt and many others.

                  But the GOP depends on stupid Americans who can’t remember even recent history, let alone the long term.

                  1. I would love some citations on that. Particularly the GOP loves the military industrial complex bit. Not saying it may not be accurate, but I’m not willing to let you off the hook with the ‘common knowledge’ angle.

                    Sorta like I always heard Republicans love war but in fact Democrats have taken America to war more often.

                    1. “Particularly the GOP loves the military industrial complex bit.”

                      Honestly, I am amazed that you have to ask! I’m not talking about WWII, since the real MI complex only came in existence after. Answering pretty short and sweet – the vast majority of military brass vote GOP…and many of them end up with multi-million dollar jobs afterwards…and GW and neo-cons enlarged the security budgets to an unheard-of degree.

                      When republican use the talking point “we support a strong defense”, what they are really saying is that no expense is too much. None.

                      However, my post said “medical-industrial” complex, which refers to the total corporatism model of Health Care they backed – which is responsible for our current system that costs $8600 per person per year.

                      That one is easy to prove. First, they shot down Hillary big time when she even suggested (in the early 90’s) that it was time for a civil society to have reasonable health care for all.

                      Second – many top dog Republicans were in the BILLION dollar corporate health care business. Bill Frist, Prez of the Senate under Bush – his family owned HCA. Romney is involved in billions of dollars worth of for-profit health care stuff.

                      It’s not “public health”. It’s “we make more money when the population is unhealthy” care, and it’s breaking the back of our country. The ACA is a temporary band-aid, but perhaps we can start bending the cost curve – not so if it’s rolled back or held back by the GOP.

                    2. “Particularly the GOP loves the military industrial complex bit.”

                      Honestly, I am amazed that you have to ask! I’m not talking about WWII, since the real MI complex only came in existence after. Answering pretty short and sweet – the vast majority of military brass vote GOP…and many of them end up with multi-million dollar jobs afterwards…and GW and neo-cons enlarged the security budgets to an unheard-of degree.

                      When republican use the talking point “we support a strong defense”, what they are really saying is that no expense is too much. None.

                      However, my post said “medical-industrial” complex, which refers to the total corporatism model of Health Care they backed – which is responsible for our current system that costs $8600 per person per year.

                      That one is easy to prove. First, they shot down Hillary big time when she even suggested (in the early 90’s) that it was time for a civil society to have reasonable health care for all.

                      Second – many top dog Republicans were in the BILLION dollar corporate health care business. Bill Frist, Prez of the Senate under Bush – his family owned HCA. Romney is involved in billions of dollars worth of for-profit health care stuff.

                      It’s not “public health”. It’s “we make more money when the population is unhealthy” care, and it’s breaking the back of our country. The ACA is a temporary band-aid, but perhaps we can start bending the cost curve – not so if it’s rolled back or held back by the GOP.

                    3. “Particularly the GOP loves the military industrial complex bit.”

                      Honestly, I am amazed that you have to ask! I’m not talking about WWII, since the real MI complex only came in existence after. Answering pretty short and sweet – the vast majority of military brass vote GOP…and many of them end up with multi-million dollar jobs afterwards…and GW and neo-cons enlarged the security budgets to an unheard-of degree.

                      When republican use the talking point “we support a strong defense”, what they are really saying is that no expense is too much. None.

                      However, my post said “medical-industrial” complex, which refers to the total corporatism model of Health Care they backed – which is responsible for our current system that costs $8600 per person per year.

                      That one is easy to prove. First, they shot down Hillary big time when she even suggested (in the early 90’s) that it was time for a civil society to have reasonable health care for all.

                      Second – many top dog Republicans were in the BILLION dollar corporate health care business. Bill Frist, Prez of the Senate under Bush – his family owned HCA. Romney is involved in billions of dollars worth of for-profit health care stuff.

                      It’s not “public health”. It’s “we make more money when the population is unhealthy” care, and it’s breaking the back of our country. The ACA is a temporary band-aid, but perhaps we can start bending the cost curve – not so if it’s rolled back or held back by the GOP.

  5. As many here predicted, once Obamacare got it foot in the door, most of it would never be repealed. And, I fear, those elements that may be repealed are only going to leave the remaining mess even more costly for the taxpayers.

    1. The bulk of it fucks the middle class so badly, it will have to be repealed. The Democrats will repeal it themselves. The problem is that they won’t do it until Obama is safely out of office and the repeal can be spun as a “perfection of the great reform the God Man Obama started” to his remaining brain dead supporters.

      The big problem is that the failure of this thing makes the people who supported it look like complete fools. And people just won’t admit that they were fools very easily. So enough time has to pass to allow them some kind of face saving way to fix things.

      1. The Democrats will repeal it themselves.

        Anything can happen, but I regard that as a very low-probability outcome, at least within the next 6 years (this Prez and his successor’s first term).

      2. What are you smoking? The cost curve is already flattening and tens of millions are covered and covered better.

        There is about a 0% chance it will be repealed – I wonder if the overseas bookies had odds on it?

        There is one possibility, though. If the GOP gets full power they will replace it with one that has their name on it. But it will be largely the same deal and the existing stuff will all be relevant. This is similar to what Mitch is doing in KY – throwing a different name on it.

        That’s the biggest beef most republicans have with the plan. The name “Obamacare”. Call it RandCare and you guys will be trumpeting it.

  6. It’s not like Republicans are opposed, in principle, to large government handouts.

  7. So, just as I suspected, the stupid party would find a way to step on their own dicks.

    Brilliant.

    1. War on Women?
      You should say they will step on their own saggy breasts too…so you can cover the fair sex as equal.

  8. Anyone who tries to repeal Obamacare will be accused of “Taking health care away from millions of people!”

    It’s a political impossibility.

    They best they may be able to achieve is “Repeal and Replace,” which is like removing a cancerous tumor and replacing it with a watermelon.

    1. like removing a cancerous tumor and replacing it with another cancerous tumor, that you now have to take anti-rejection drugs to keep it from killing you even faster.

    2. If the GOP would just back away from full Obamacare repeal, and instead promote “reforms that will save money for everyone”, they may have a fighting chance.

      1. “reforms that will save money for everyone”

        Reforms that will save money for most people will cost money for a small number of people with chronic illnesses or preexisting conditions. The resulting response will be “Why do you want to take health care away from sick people?”

        We’re stuck with it. And I am personally quite pissed about it. My take home is down a hundred dollars a week since this bill passed. All because of health insurance.

        1. And you don’t think most people would like to take health care away from sick people to save themselves money?

          1. “And you don’t think most people would like to take health care away from sick people to save themselves money?”

            Other than people here?
            No, I don’t think most Americans would support the removal of health care from sick people to save a few bucks.

            1. craigisanass-

              I’d shit in your mouth to save two cents.

              If it saves me $150/mo (how much my insurance premium increased) for the rest of my life?

              “I see dead people.”

        2. I’m not sure if Republicans would go for this (they aren’t too keen on being smart, after all) but why not do this?

          1. Offer Repeal of ObamaCare. Sure, it provides insurance for millions at a higher cost, and takes away health care for millions in the middle class, but we could do better.

          2. Legalize shopping for insurance over state lines. Perhaps deregulate insurance a little bit. Equalize the incentive between getting employer-provided insurance and personal insurance.

          3. For the sick who can’t get insurance, provide them with a special government program that will cover them. Why are we destroying everyone else’s health care, just to cover these special cases?

  9. I’m not sure where this goes, or how this ends.

    Peering into my crystal ball, I detect vacuous platitudes in every direction, as far as the eye can see.

  10. Obama has outsmarted them. He won his bet that once it was passed, it would be permanent.

    LAW OF THE LAND, FTW!

    1. No.

      YOU OWN IT BUDDY!!

      FOR THE WIN.

      1. Our only hope is that enough insurance plan cancellations are received PRIOR to November to tip the scales…I just received my notice today (third year in a row).

  11. Keep rooting, TEAM RED boy.

    1. Lighten up Francis. It is not like Team Red are Pakistanis or something.

  12. The correct way forward is to gut the law without formally repealing it.

    You can do that fairly easily by reducing the minimum required coverage to a catestrophic-only plan. That would gut the mandate and cause an exodus of healthy single people from the comprehensive plans that force people to cross-subsidize everything from maternity to pediatric dental care.

    1. That is exactly what will happen. But it won’t happen until Obama is out of office. The employee mandate, the individual mandate, the device tax and community rating are all going to be repealed piecemeal. After you do that, what the hell is left other than the pre-existing condition mandate?

      But they will never call it a repeal. That way the idiots who supported this don’t have to formally admit they were wrong.

      1. That is exactly what will happen.

        That may be exactly what should happen, but is the red half of TEAM BE RULED intelligent enough to figure that out?

      2. Will they repeal Medicare also? It makes sense because that’s the ultimate costly program.

        I don’t hear much talk about that…..is it only younger people you wish to leave out in the gutters dying?

        Heck, even the damn Saudis have basic care for all without calling them charity cases…

    2. That’s not the correct way, that’s the fantasy way.

      The reality is that the GOP won’t win enough seats this fall to override either a filibuster or a veto. Not that they’d be willing to gut the law (which is being adopted by Republican state after another), but still. And again, even if they were willing, they wouldn’t have enough votes to do it.

      Furthermore, the Dems are pretty much certain to win the presidency in 2016, where they can continue to veto any repeal (or defacto repeal). And are quite likely to take back the senate, possibly even the house.

      Bottom line, the laws not going anywhere. If anything, it will continue to expand.

      1. Furthermore, the Dems are pretty much certain to win the presidency in 2016, where they can continue to veto any repeal (or defacto repeal). And are quite likely to take back the senate, possibly even the house.

        Running on their myriad of successes?

        1. Because the Republicans will nominate a loser.

        2. Generally speaking, individual people don’t really change which party they vote for from one election to another. Basically, by the time you’re out of college, your party loyalty is virtually set for life. Swing voters are pretty much imaginary. And late in life ‘conversions’ are nearly as rare.

          It’s been about 50 years since a significant number of voters changed their voting behavior, and that was over desegregation/Civil Rights, and all the issues surrounding it. There’s been nothing the last few years even remotely comparable.

          The GOP is winning this election because Republicans generally vote more during midterms, and there’s nothing abnormally boosting (or depressing) turnout for either party. In 2016, a presidential election year, the Dems generally vote in greater numbers. And if Clinton (“first female president” and all that) ends up running, it’s likely they’ll turn out in even higher numbers than normal.

          So yeah… myriad successes or myriad failures, they’re extremely likely to win.

          1. Generally speaking, individual people don’t really change which party they vote for from one election to another.

            True but completely irrelevant. The country is evenly enough divided that even a small swing totally changes power. The swing from 2004, which gave the Republicans control of the entire government to 2008, which gave the Dems the same thing was only a few percentage points.

            1. The shift you mentioned wasn’t due to individuals voting in a different way, but to the overall electorate’s demographics changing. That demographic change is continuing, and the ‘even divide’ is getting less and less even.

          2. “Generally speaking, individual people don’t really change which party they vote for from one election to another. ”

            No, that’s not true. See Reagan vs Carter in 1980 and then to an even greater degree, Reagan vs Mondale 1984.

            Here’s the 1984 election map for reference: http://www.270towin.com/historical_maps/1984.gif

            There were a very large amount of Democrats voting for Reagan.

            1. As I said, “generally speaking.” You want to identify something similar that you think might happen in two years?

            2. “There were a very large amount of Democrats voting for Reagan”

              Ain’t going to happen again in my lifetime. We Dems know that Reagonomics caused the complete decline of industrial America – let alone the related stagnation of wages, endless war (very profitable), etc.

              1. This is so ridiculous it explains why so many sophomoric economic ideas come from Democrats and its band of financially illiterate commies.

                1. Here is an example of why mindless progs like craig are so stupid it’s amazing they are able to put their shoes on in the morning:

                  A prog aquaintance was railing about Walmart putting her family’s small neighborhood store out of business. The problem is, their store went belly up years before Walmart even came to town for a variety of reasons, most likely the fancy new gas/convenience store 4 blocks away on a main drag. People with this mindset are immune to logic. The vacuous look she gave me when I asked her why she was against poor people having access to reasonably priced healthy food like Walmart offers was priceless. Typical proggie disconnect…

      2. What Swiss said. Moreover, even if the Democrats do win the Presidency, what makes you think the next President be he R or D is going to want this steaming pile of shit destroying their administration?

        We are quickly reaching the point that the only person in America who doesn’t want this thing at least majorly reformed is Obama himself. And he won’t be around after 2016.

        The fantasy way is to think the Democrats will remain committed to a complete disaster after Obama leaves office. After he leaves, it will be just another really unpopular and failed piece of legislation.

        1. I don’t think it’s going to destroy this, or the next administration. And I think that the people who do think that, have generally been wrong about everything they’ve predicted about the law and how things would play out over the last several years.

          At a certain point, it’s maybe worth remembering their track record. Suderman’s article here documents a lot of that sort of thing.

          1. The people who supported this were convinced that it would ensure a permanent Democratic majority. In fact many people on the Right said the same thing and said the Republicans were suicidal for not selling out and voting for it. The supporters also said that Obamacare would only get more popular after it was implemented.

            So if we are going to start talking about track records here, I am pretty sure the supporters of this bill are going to come out a lot worse than the people who oppose it.

            How is that determinant Democratic majority working out for you?

          2. And go ask Nancy Pelosi how it feels to be the minority leader. Obamacare seems to have destroyed her administration of the House and is about to do the same to Harry Reid.

            1. Obamacare is a non-issue this election.

              Hell, the GOP has largely stopped running ads about it, because they realized it was actually driving Dem turnout last fall and this spring during special elections.

              The Dems are losing the Senate because there’s a ton of them up for re-election in red states during an off-year when GOP turnout is always higher.

              This isn’t anything like 2010, when Obamacare really did boost GOP turnout to abnormal levels. This is a regular old election by all the numbers.

              1. Thanks to Obamacare Democrats can no longer win elections outside of the coasts and a few college towns. It turns you into a regional party.

                Yes it is an ordinary election, meaning the Dem rats will lose every where but a few areas of the country. You just conceded my point.

            2. Are you talking about the same Harry that we were told was gonna get sent packing years ago?

              Had! Nancy and Harry have both been incredibly successful unlike your hero’s like Canton and Boner…

  13. It is not like Team Red are Pakistanis or something.

    That’s nice. You were the one one posting hundreds of comments about how awful it is that reason was covering up some giant government-sponsored Pakistani child rape ring, because COSMOTARIUNZ!

    Quick, apout some more sweeping generalizations and utterly unsubstantiated assertions masquerading as facts, and then call me an idiot.

    You bore me.

    1. You are the one who thinks the story is about how evil the Pakistanis are. Not me. I think it is about how evil the UK government is.

      Did some Pakistani kids take your lunch money when you were a kid or something?

  14. I think part of the problem was there wasn’t really a problem in the first place except left wing ideologues needed an issue.

    It was always a great big “I’m OK, You’re OK.” But a few hard luck cases convinced people who were fine and generally happy, that OTHER people weren’t OK.”

    Since the overwhelming majority, of the people who had insurance (also a huge majority), were happy and satisfied. We were really talking about some corner cases and left wing ideological goal posts.

    Largely, just repealing it IS a fix. We don’t have to grant leftwing (insane) success conditions.

    1. All true. And that is why this thing will eventually be repealed, even if it takes the Democrats to do it. Most people liked their health insurance before this. The leftists believed their own bullshit and convinced themselves that people didn’t. But they did and they are not going to tolerate giving up their health insurance. It is not an R vs D thing. It is just reality. The Democrats own supporters are going to end up demanding this thing be repealed or gutted.

  15. Go concern troll somebody else, you fucking hysteric.

    1. Why would I do that when it is so fun and easy to concern troll you? If you don’t like being concerned trolled, stop making yourself such an easy target.

    2. And if you don’t like it, stop coming on here and posting insults. I wasn’t saying a word to you until you put your little brain in high gear and came up with that new and inventive insult of calling me Red Tony.

      Now you whine when I shove it back in your face. Sorry Brooks, but if you don’t like someone fucking with you, maybe you ought to consider not fucking with them. Just a thought.

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  17. Are Republicans Going Soft on Obamacare?

    They’re not going soft. They’re going limp.

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  19. John,

    I got a bridge to sell you if you think Democrats in states like California are going to repeal Obamacare for anything other than a singer payer system.

    If Congress stopped federal subsidies states like California would vote to raise their own taxes to cover the difference.

    1. Sure they will. Until they go broke. And the subsidies are not the problem. It is the mandates.

      1. No, going broke won’t stop them. Look at Illinois, can’t pay a bill, but committed to the blue dream until the end. I fear someday we may have to put proggies into camps to educate them on the evils of Gubernment.

        1. That’s what’s going to happen in the West in general. They will go with the sinking ship and let it all burn down.

          When it does, we will revert to what made us wealthy and they will come back to destroy it like the pansy, envious, short-sighted, parasitical minds they are.

          Circle of life.

  20. I think the Republicans who said that if they didn’t stop Obamacare during the Federal government shutdown, they’d never be able to stop it, were right. It’s a done deal at this point.

    The best path forward is modifying it to be something less disasterous.

  21. Our economy is like that plane that just cruised to a crash in Jamaica. It’s on auto-pilot until it crashes.

    All this collectivist crap will evaporate (except in the fantastic memories of collectivists) when the foolish monetary and big government plane crashes.

    The rest is mental masturbation.

  22. Here is a simple fact…if you ask Kentuckians about Kynect, more are favorable than unfavorable. If you ask about Obamacare, its the reverse. Kynect is Obamacaare. This is why McConnell thinks he can get away with getting rid of Obamacare and keeping Kynect. He is a phony.

    All the predictions from Peter et. al. about the coming catastrophe (no one will like it, the uninsured number will not come down, the young will avoid it, no one will sign up, the technology can’t be fixed, etc.) have all proved false. And every year that goes by more and more will take advantage of it.

    Stop with this repeal stuff…it was a fantasy from day one. Fix it, make it better, find better ways to pay for it…just stop with the childish “I’ll take my ball and go home.” At least the GOP is maturing.

    1. Why do you think a bunch of white Repiblicans need to fix Obama’s legacy? That is just flat out racist.

      There won’t be a fix. This is Obama’s legacy and anyone who thinks it needs fixed is a racist.

      I am sorry you can’t handle there being a black man as president.

      1. Say what?

    2. Why should I fix your stupid ass shit? Piss off, wanker.

      1. Speaking of children…waffen makes an appearance.

        1. Let me guess, you are 50 and on Viagra?

  23. Mitch McConnell has a face like a bowl of creamed corn and a brain to match.

  24. When have Republicans been politically consistent? It should be no surprise they would flip flop on this issue, just like so many others before this one.

    1. It’s a political party of millions of people. How could it be consistent about anything? No effective political party can afford consistency.

  25. Plan? We don’t need no stinkin’ plan!
    Just get govt and the AMA out of medical care, and let free people pay other free people for the care they want. And stop the crony prescription requirements. Let people buy what they want and leave them alone.

    Here in Mexico, it is almost that way, and medical care is VERY cheap and easy.

    1. Leave people alone? How quaint!

      Don’t you know we can’t trust people to make their own decisions? I mean, come ON!

      No. What we need is a one-size fits all, top-bottom approach designed by remedial, sociopaths in the bureaucracy to determine what’s right for you and me.

      Duh. Live in reality my friend. RE-ALITY. Not in the dream world libertarians are stuck in.

      /sticks finger in nose.

    2. “Here in Mexico, it is almost that way, and medical care is VERY cheap and easy.”

      How is the lack of Gubment working out down there as far as poverty, drugs, violence, etc.?

      1. Actually, Mexico makes it difficult for citizens to get guns; and to the best of my knowledge, drugs are illegal too. It is also my impression that Mexico is knee-deep in Gubment control in other ways as well.

        The lack of Gubment control in health care is a pleasant surprise. Now, if they could just extend that attitude to other aspects of government, perhaps they might create a half-decent country…

  26. I’ve always said they will leave it in place and just change it to suit their own purposes. We’re always hearing the R’s say something the D’s do is unconstitutional and should be repealed, but when did they ever repeal any of those unconstitutional expansions of federal scope? They know they can use that same power themselves and quickly come to feel it’s perfectly constitutional.

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  35. I my opinion there hasn’t been a Republican of true nature in office since Reagan. Having said that the republican’s need to do as they or the dems have sworn to do. That is to defend this Nation and it’s people from any potential harm of any kind. If they are unwilling or unable to do so. The oath itself dictates they resign immediately. This is the way our system is designed. However I doubt it has ever functioned that way.

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