GOP Sees Chance For Revival As Dems Struggle With Health Proposals
"Republicans finally have a little spring back in their step thanks to a health care debate that has done more to cool off Obama-mania and reignite the conservative base than even most of its leaders had hoped," Politico reports.
GOP party leaders were in Chicago this week for "the second annual GOPAC conference, where they worked with state legislators to develop a unified GOP strategy and message on heath care." GOPAC chairman Frank Donatelli says "for the first time in six years, the level of enthusiasm and intensity among our party members is higher than the other side, and you cannot overestimate how important that is."
"But that enthusiasm, and the dip in Obama's poll numbers, has yet to translate into a spike in Republicans' numbers," according to Politico. While many Republicans acknowledged "that the president is likely to get some sort of health care reform package passed," they also "see a chance to claim a victory if the president signs a bill that does less than he'd asked for," such as creating a public option (Barr, 8/16).
The Los Angeles Times: Some Republicans are "trying to figure out how to balance the desires of the base with the need to appeal to moderate swing voters who might be turned off by high-volume rhetoric. Whether they find that balance could determine whether the Republican Party can win back independents who voted overwhelmingly for Obama last year but now, according to several polls, are questioning their commitment to him." And "complicating matters now is that some activists have mounted their effort against a healthcare overhaul largely outside the party machinery. They are relying on social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook to recruit volunteers for town hall meetings and spread YouTube videos of encounters with lawmakers" (Hook and Wallsten, 8/16).
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., "says the angry tone of the health care debate is the result of people losing confidence in government," The Associated Press reports. He also "calls health care a symptom of the debate over an uncontrolled federal government" (8/16).
CBS News spoke with Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, who thinks that GOP disruptions at town hall meetings go beyond health care. "'It's about a whole range of issues that started to develop last November after Barack Obama's election,' Sabato said. 'Then as Obama started making appointments, getting a stimulus bill passed, proposing a health care initiative, all of this further irritated the 46 percent who voted against him You can almost see that the anger and frustration have built up month after month, and it's exploded, and the proximate cause of the explosion is health care'" (Attkisson, 8/16).