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August 20, 2010

Dem Strategists: Stop Saying ObamaCare Reduces the Deficit, Nobody Believes You

And here I was worrying that voters would eventually wrap their minds around ObamaCare, not supporting it exactly, but getting used to it. Not opposing it outright or calling for repeal.

No fear of that now.

Democrats are acknowledging the failure of their predictions that the health care legislation would grow more popular after its passage, as its benefits became clear and rhetoric cooled. Instead, the presentation is designed to win over a skeptical public, and to defend the legislation — and in particular the individual mandate — from a push for repeal.

[...]

The presentation concedes that groups typically supportive of Democratic causes — people under 40, non-college educated women, and Hispanic voters — have not been won over by the plan. Indeed, it stresses repeatedly, many are unaware that the legislation has passed, an astonishing shortcoming in the White House's all-out communications effort.

"Straightforward ‘policy’ defenses fail to [move] voters’ opinions about the law," says one slide. "Women in particular are concerned that health care law will mean less provider availbality – scarcity an issue."

The presentation also concedes that the fiscal and economic arguments that were the White House's first and most aggressive sales pitch have essentially failed.

"Many don’t believe health care reform will help the economy," says one slide.

The presentation's final page of "Don'ts" counsels against claiming "the law will reduce costs and deficit."

The strategists also told Democrats that they should start talking about "improving" ObamaCare. And that's really why this new strategy is good for us. Because you don't fix anything that ain't broke.

Voters already suspected that ObamaCare -- solely a Democratic creature -- was an abomination from the start. Why else hold special Christmas Eve sessions, pass portions of it at night, and bribe members to support it? But with this strategy, Democrats will have confirmed voters' savvy suspicions: ObamaCare is bad.

Why would voters who already dislike ObamaCare be receptive to arguments from its creators that they will fix their own monstrous creation...so long as they get reelected? (Answer: they won't.)

What fortuitous timing: Results from the latest CNN/Opinion Research poll on Obamacare:

Just 44 percent favor the health care mandate, which has yet to take effect. Nearly the same number – 45 percent – favored the bill when it passed. Forty-nine percent favored the mandate in November 2009.

Fifty-six percent oppose the mandate, up 3 percentage points from when the bill passed.

Unreported in Politico, but available in the full results (PDF), 56 percent oppose ObamaCare in its entirety (not just the individual mandate).


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 09:49 AM

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