On ObamaCare Defunding, Conservatives Are The Dog That Caught The Car. Now What?
“What do we do now?”
That’s the famous last line from The Candidate, a movie about a candidate selected to run because no one thought the incumbent could be beat. Only in the end the upstart is successful but hasn’t thought at all about what would happen beyond the election.
Well, much like the fictional Bill McKay, those of us supporting the defund through the continuing resolution we won (sort of, it’s only a 3 month CR). So, what do we do now?
Ideally we would have had a year to plan for this but the grassroots have spent the last year fighting with leadership to even get in the game. Having said that, we are the proverbial dog who has the caught the car so let’s figure out what comes next.
Recognize this will be a messaging war. More importantly recognize that the GOP’s messaging efforts haven’t been, shall we say, great to date.
Let’s get what we shouldn’t be talking about out of the way:
This isn’t about him. This isn’t about “Obama the socialist”. It isn’t about “Obama just wants to give free stuff to people who depend on government” (it’s not about them either).
Barack Obama isn’t going to be on another ballot ever again. Move on.
This fight also isn’t about: “job creators”, “people on food stamps”, or even Democrats in general. It’s not about abstract notions of “freedom”, “self-reliance” or even the Constitution.
We’ve tried that stuff. You might note it doesn’t work.
Who and what this is about is…actual Americans you can stand next to.
-Keeping the government funded. Nothing that the government already does will stop, it’s just that t won’t be able to do new things with ObamaCare.
-It’s about the tens of millions of Americans who were so outraged about the partisan bill shoved down the country’s throat on Christmas Eve in 2009 that they sent Republicans to the House of Representatives in 2010 to stop and undo this unwanted and disliked law. The GOP is now doing what they were told do then and in 2012.
-“Peggy” who is a single mom who because of ObamaCare is having her hours cut back to part-time because her employer can’t afford the mandates in the bill. She doesn’t want subsidies or food stamps to make up the difference. She wants her job back.
-“Bob” who is alive thanks to cutting edge technology made by a company that is going out of business because of the medical device tax in ObamaCare. It’s also about Bob’s young daughter “Susan” who shares the same genetic problem as her dad and is worried that if it shows up later in life like it did for her dad, the technology to save her life won’t be there because that company is gone.
-It’s about “Jim and Lucy and their kids”. Doctor Adam has taken care of them for years but because Jim and Lucy’s employers stopped providing health insurance, Jim and Lucy now have to get their insurance from an ObamCare exchange. Yeah, the cost is about the same in their case (though it’s more expensive for others) but Doctor Adam isn’t in that plan so now they have to see a different doctor.
-It’s about “Doctor Adam” who though he can no longer see Jim, Lucy and their kids but has so many new patients and new paperwork he can’t spend enough time with each of them to provide the best care possible.
-It’s about Carlos who wanted to sign up for insurance but he’s already been the victim of identity theft and sees how these exchanges will be run he’s afraid it will happen to him again. He doesn’t want his life ruined twice.
-It’s about “Claire”, a manager at a local supermarket is losing her health insurance and being forced to go on an exchange plan, while “Kenny”, the guy who works for the local Congressman gets a waiver and gets to keep his tax payer funded plan.
You see where I’m going with this. We need to have a few key bullet points and humanize them. We can’t make this about numbers or abstract constructs. We aren’t doing this to get back at Obama, we don’t care about him. We aren’t against him or ObamaCare we are for Americans who have made it clear they don’t want this law and this plan. This is what the GOP was sent to DC to do. You’re welcome America.
The challenge in a fight like this is there are hundreds of GOP voices and some will be saying stupid things. The media will find them and highlight them. Meanwhile the administration will speak with more or less one voice and the media will cover up when they go off script.
It won’t be easy and honestly the chances of winning are slim. Again ideally we would have had a year to prepare for this and not 3 days but we asked for this fight so we better fight it and fight it smartly.