White House Officials Dare GOP to Use Health Care Reform Against Democrats in 2010 Elections
Republicans have been throwing down the gauntlet to the White House and Democrats, arguing that if health care reform is passed they’ll use it against the Democrats in 2010. And now some White House officials have their response: we dare you to do just that — and welcome it:
Expressing an increasing confidence that a massive health care overhaul will pass Congress — despite dire warnings from Republicans about its impact on Democrats in November — White House officials on Sunday dared the GOP to bring it on during this fall’s 2010 midterm election.
“We’re happy to have the 2010 elections be about the achievement of health care reform. That’s a debate I think we’re obviously comfortable having,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“Make my day,” added senior White House adviser David Axelrod.
“If the Republican Party wants to go out and say to that child who now has insurance or say to that small business that will get tax credits this year … you know what, we’re actually going to take that away from you and we don’t think that’s such a good idea, I say let’s have that fight,” Axelrod told ABC’S “This Week.” “I’m ready to have that and every member of Congress ought to be willing to have that debate as well.”
White House aides and House Democratic leaders have expressed increasing confidence they will get the 216 votes needed in the House to pass a Senate version of a health insurance overhaul that is not exactly what any Democrat wants but is more than no bill at all.
In a possible sign of the swinging momentum, President Obama postponed plans to travel abroad this week in anticipation of a vote that will determine the fate of his signature issue and could indicate his wherewithal for the remainder of his term.
At the center of all this broo-haa-haa are differing perceptions.
GOPERS clearly feel that if Democrats ram it through it’ll help mobilize it’s party base more than ever and enrage a good chunk of the independent voters block. They see it as an issue of government, spending and government power. What is unsaid is an underlying confidence that the Republican’s info machine of talk and cable radio show hosts, blogs, and reporters covering official party bigwig statements will whip up anger against the Democrats, White House and big government.
The WHITE HOUSE clearly feels that once the plan is passed the press and public will learn more about how it specifically works, which will be far different from how it is painted by Republicans and that party’s new and old media infomachine. And it may have something there: if it does pass, the press will do lots of stories about what the bill contains and its imact — stories that will neutralize any allegations that were inaccurate. The White House is also using as its model the experiences of the highly controversial passages of Social Security under FDR and Medicare under LBJ.
The one sticking point is whether Democrats in all of this shoot themselves in the…donkey. If health care reform passes it’s not difficult to project a scenario where the party’s base — which is not happy with the proposed plan as it is — will be thoroughly angry and demorilized. And it’s not difficult if this happens and the Dems lose bigtime — bigger than anticipated in the already gloomy-for-them year of 2010 — the party will suffer a setback that could take a decade or a generation to overcome.
So the stakes couldn’t be higher — but all hinges on what actually happens to health care reform.