The Fight Over Health Care, Urinating and Other Bodily Functions
Posted at 4:25 p.m. on Sept. 25, 2013
Cruz spoke on the Senate floor about Obamacare for more than 20 hours. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
On Tuesday morning, former Democratic National Committee Communications Director Brad Woodhouse passed around Eugene Robinson’s Washington Post column with the subject line, “Peeing in their pants.”
It was the latest example of the political posturing on health care.
In conversations with Democratic and Republican operatives, it’s clear that both parties believe Obamacare will be a winning issue for them next November. The confidence (maybe overconfidence?) on both sides is stunning.
GOP operatives are convinced that the 2010 health care law will be an anvil tied around the necks of Democratic candidates in the Republican-leaning districts and states Democrats need to win a House majority or keep hold of the Senate. Democratic operatives are bullish, but not because they believe the legislation is popular. They believe Republicans will overreach in their effort to defund or repeal the law.
Only time will tell who is right. But for some reason, bodily functions often seem to creep into the health care debate.
Woodhouse (who is now with Americans United for Change) highlighted a paragraph from Robinson’s column to make his case that Republicans are so nervous that a successful Obamacare roll-out will have negative political consequences that they will wet themselves.
“Now the central provisions of the Affordable Care Act are set to come into effect — the individual mandate, the insurance exchanges, the guarantee of coverage for those with preexisting conditions. Republicans scream that Obamacare is sure to fail. But what they really fear is that it will succeed.”
Woodhouse’s subject line reminded me of an op-ed from nearly three-and-a-half years ago, when one of President Barack Obama’s senior strategists encouraged Democrats not to fear the politics of health care.
Five days after Republican Scott P. Brown won a special Senate election in the middle of the health care fight in January 2010, David Plouffe offered some advice to fellow Democrats on the op-ed page of The Washington Post.
“No bed-wetting. This will be a tough election for our party and for many Republican incumbents as well. Instead of fearing what may happen, let’s prove that we have more than just the brains to govern — that we have the guts to govern. Let’s fight like hell, not because we want to preserve our status, but because we sincerely believe too many everyday Americans will continue to lose if Republicans and special interests win.”
Keep in mind, this was two months before Democratic majorities passed the Affordable Care Act and eight months before Republicans won 63 seats in the House and six seats in the Senate.
That doesn’t mean the 2014 elections will follow the same path. But political confidence a year out from an election shouldn’t be mistaken for an accurate electoral projection.