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Thursday Morning News Dump | Main | BREAKING: Reid Going Nuclear On Filibuster In Senate Right Now. McConnell's Rebuttal: If I Were Responsible For Obamacare's Path Of Destruction, I'd Change The Subject Too
November 21, 2013

On Healthcare Reform The GOP Needs To Embrace The Fierce Urgency Of Shutting Up

Each day seems to bring a new polling low for Obama and a new disaster for ObamaCare. The GOP is seeing a corresponding rise in the polls. From this morning's NRO Morning Jolt.

"Loyalty prevails among partisans, but among independents, 42 percent trust the Democratic Party more when it comes to handling healthcare compared with 58 percent who trust the Republican Party more."

Unfortunately some will see this is as a signal the GOP needs to offer an alternative approach to ObamaCare. People who publicly advocate this course of action should be locked in a basement until after the 2014 elections.

The public isn't suddenly enamored of the GOP, they just really hate Obama and the Democrats at the moment. As soon as you start offering detailed examples of what the GOP would do you make the conversation about which approach is better. You invite people to make a choice. And just because they really don't like the Democrats approach doesn't mean they will like the GOP's.

More to the point, why in the world would you give the Democrats an out on this stuff? Right now the conversation is only about how the Democrats have lied and made a hash out of a system, that while imperfect (though it looks better now than ever), seemed to work for most people.

One reason opposition to ObamaCare didn't really kick into high gear until now is the damage was theoretical. Democrats could talk about keeping people on insurance until 26 and outlawing pre-existing conditions and on and on. All opponents could offer was projections that most people didn't follow or really understand (I'm talking about mushy-moderate/swing voter types). These low information voters could just write it off to "partisian bickering". Well, now they can't hide from it anymore.

The last thing the GOP should want to do is take the focus off the real and concrete pain people are seeing and turn the conversation back into a theoretical He says/She says political fight over competing theories of governance.

Right now the GOP is standing firmly with the maximum number of people possible. Once they start talking about hard policy options with potential downsides (as all policy choices have for some), you start to peal away part of the existing number of ObamaCare opponents/GOP supporters. Nothing tangible has been won against ObamaCare yet, this is not the time to start forcing people to begin making choices again. They are choosing to hate Obama and ObamaCare, the GOP should let them do it in peace. Don't fall into the trap that just because people don't like ObamaCare they will like the GOP alternatives.

Yes, the Democrats will say "they don't have a plan!" So? The retort is simple, "Our plan is to undo the damage that Democrats have done with their unworkable scheme to take your health insurance away from you. We will fight to make sure you are once again able to have an insurance plan you like and keep the doctors you trust. We stand with you in your desire to be free from the incompetents in Washington who can't even make a website work but think they know better than you what's right for you and your family!".

The GOP's healthcare reform message is going to have to be carried by it's nominee in 2016. There's no point in trying to have hundreds of candidates for Congress running on all sorts of different plans that will never be signed into law by Obama.

A simple message (Hope! Change!) is what resonates with people. (Remember: In 2008 Democrats ran on "reform". In fact, Obama ran against the individual mandate. Details don't matter in campaigns.)The conservative healthcare wonks and Democrats in the media will insist on seeing the GOP's "detailed plan to do better than ObamaCare". Do not listen to them. You start talking about pre vs. post tax dollars, risk pools and things that make up an actual plan and you lose people. They. Don't. Care. They want to be able to go to their doctor and feel better. Promise you will make that possible and remind them that the Democrats are taking that away. Bash the Democrats over the head with each new horror story, pass symbolic bills that Obama won't sign like Upton's, then sit down, shut up and let the Democrats stew in their own mess.

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posted by DrewM. at 10:22 AM

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