2012 Republican Health Care Strategy

I want you to really listen to this clip from The Young Turks, not so much for the message about how bipartisanship is dead (which it is), but to listen -- really listen -- to what Republicans are saying. Here it is: We have a jobs situation, we have a sluggish economy, and we have high debt.

Here's Jim DeMint's answer to those problems: De-fund "ObamaCare".

The obvious question is to ask how repealing something that actually saves money for the government and Americans alike is...how does that work to fix the economy, exactly?

The obvious answer is, it doesn't. Not at all. But what it does do is set the stage to continue driving home over and over and over again how evil they think it is, knowing that in our current environment and with the complicity of Fox News and its radio associates, it will stick until Americans hate it more than they hate everything else.

There's no downside risk because it won't happen. It just forces the Senate to keep blocking their efforts and if it somehow made it to the President's desk, it forces him to use his veto pen, which keeps their base frothing. It is about their base, that group of querulous, nervous senior citizens and moral champions until morality involves respecting all human life.

Here's what I think Democrats should do. Democrats in the Senate should introduce a provision for optional buy-in to Medicare as an alternative to the individual mandate. This won't work either, but it will serve to fire up their base. They should introduce this as an amendment over, and over, and over, early and often. They could even offer two versions: one which is a Medicare buy-in and the other a separate, robust public option. They should keep hammering and hammering and hammering.

The worst case with that strategy is that all of it just becomes noise, while provisions of the health care law begin to take effect. The best thing that happens is Republicans will constantly be forced to defend their attack on pre-existing conditions, parents covering their kids, rescissions, and the other consumer protections. Democrats use that weakness to come around and hammer them about how their obsession with health care repeal is stopping all effort to economic growth.

Win, win. Works for me.


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