Following his introduction of Barack Obama at Tuesday’s health care reform signing ceremony, Vice President Joe Biden informed the president that the legislative accomplishment was “a big f***ing deal!” Biden’s word choice was, perhaps, indelicate, but his sentiment was appropriate. Considering the over-the-top, often misleading, attacks which have clouded the year-long debate over reform, opponents of the bill seem to agree.
In ramming through a bill that forces government into the most personal aspect of our lives, the President and his Democrat Party have revealed themselves as being radically to the left of the American people. They will lose this fight in the end; the American people cherish their freedom and will defend it this November.
These two sentences contain a number of errors. The “ramming through” bit is only right if you view the health care debate as having taken place exclusively in the last few weeks, which it didn’t. He repeats the GOP’s petty habit of misnaming their opposition as the “Democrat Party,” rather than “Democratic,” which is hardly worth mentioning considering the ludicrousness of the rest of that sentence.
But it’s the last bit from DeMint, the suggestion that the Democrats “will lose this fight,” drawing the battle lines for the 2010 midterm elections. A few months ago, this might have represented conventional thinking on the matter; but, that was before reform passed, and before anti-reform protesters made asses of themselves outside the Capitol building last weekend.
DeMint’s assertion is based on the tired GOP health care meme, that the reform legislation was and is “unpopular” among American voters. But just because Republicans say it, that doesn’t make it so.
As I’ve asserted previously, even if the polls indicate a measure of dissatisfaction with reform, it doesn’t mean that all those unhappy with it are dissatisfied for the same reason. Matt Finkelstein explains it in his March 23 Media Matters Action post, calling out one of DeMint’s colleagues:
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) cited a recent CNN poll finding that a majority of American voters are against the bill. “The CNN latest poll that I saw said that 59 percent of the respondents disapproved of the bill, didn’t want it,” Cornyn said.
However, as Media Matters Action noted yesterday, the top line of the CNN poll only tells half the story. When asked why they oppose the bill, 13 percent of the poll’s respondents said it is “not liberal enough.” In total, 52 percent of those surveyed approve of the bill or wish it was more liberal – which doesn’t exactly suit the GOP’s argument…
Finkelstein goes on to cite a highly publicized March 23 USA Today/Gallup poll which indicates that 49 per cent of Americans think that the passage of reform was “a good thing,” opposed to the 40 per cent who don’t. Finkelstein rightly concludes, “As it becomes even clearer that the GOP’s anti-reform rhetoric was overblown, a bill that provides millions of Americans with safeguards they need should only become more popular.”
It’s worth noting that efforts to repeal the reform bill aren’t the only proposed threat from conservatives. My Care2 colleague Jessica Pieklo addresses numerous — legally shaky to varying degrees — legal attacks by reform opponents in her latest post. What sets DeMint’s legislation apart from the rest is that, if the attacks listed by Pieklo have little chance of success, repeal legislation has even less.
Nate Silver places the nearest “small window of opportunity” for repeal proponents in 2013, contingent upon a set of hurdles the GOP can’t hope to clear. Between now and then, any such effort would certainly be vetoed by the president. Silver links to Matthew Yglasias, explaining that it’s “literally impossible for Republicans to amass enough manpower in the Congress to override a veto from Obama.”
So, if a repeal bill has no chance of undoing the’ BFD’ Biden spoke of, what’s the point?
Personally, I suspect DeMint’s repeal effort — all around scary person, Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), is leading another futile “repeal the bill” endeavor in the House — is about money. It’s the GOP clutching for campaign donations by way an empty gesture to the 40 per cent of Americans who think reform was a “bad idea.”
The GOP better get it while they can. As it is, Republicans are playing directly into the Democrats’ ‘game plan,’ one they’ve been planning for months. If the Democrats, by some miracle, actually have their act together on fighting back, that “bad idea” number is likely to come down along with the size of the GOP’s donor pool.
Overall, 2010 is shaping up poorly for the GOP, but there is a bright side: they’ll always be able to count on the 24 per cent of Republicans who believe Obama to be the Anti-Christ (*sigh* – seriously, no joke, check it out ).
Rep. Bachmann 'Kill the Bill' Rally image via Flickr -- user: Fibonacci Blue -- by way of CreativeCommons.org