Health Politics: Some Dems Who Voted For Law Struggling; GOP’s Post-Election Strategy
With the election closing in, Republicans attack the new health law and plan for the next Congress.
The Miami Herald/McClatchy Newspapers: "The specter of 'Obamacare' has become a powerful weapon for Republicans this campaign season, as the GOP uses the new health care law as its favorite symbol of big government gone amok. 'Health care reform is the signature accomplishment of the Obama administration," said Republican strategist Neil Newhouse. 'For a lot of people, it epitomizes big government and wasteful spending. It's everything they hate about government rolled into one.' The message appears to be resonating, even though polls repeatedly show people like many provisions of the new health care law" (Lightman, 10/31).
Politico: Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., "appears on the brink of going down in a national tide that's blind to distinction. Infuriatingly to the Wisconsin Democrat, he's been painted not as a leftist - the usual attack against him - but as, of all things, a Washington insider. ... The irony is biting: While other Democrats ran away from health care, Feingold ran toward it and rallied a progressive base that adores him. But no matter, he's still losing, down in every public poll and struggling in pretty much the same way embattled Democrats around the country are - as symbols of the status quo and of the unpopular health care legislation. ... Feingold calls public opposition to health care legislation the result of 'an intentional effort to destroy the Obama presidency,' and he's convinced it can't last" (Smith, 10/31).
The Hill: "Many of the House Democrats who cast the deciding votes on health reform are expected to lose on Election Day. President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) needed every vote they could muster to push the bill through the House in March. The legislation passed 219-212, but for some Democrats, that vote could prove to be their political death. Democratic Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.), Suzanne Kosmas (Fla.), Debbie Halvorson (Ill.), Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.), Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.), Mary Jo Kilroy (Ohio), Steve Driehaus (Ohio) and Betsy Markey (Colo.) were all late yes votes on health reform. Most, if not all, of them will lose on Tuesday, according to nonpartisan campaign experts" (Cusak, 10/30).
USA Today reports that President Obama is spending the weekend "wrapping up what he himself calls a bruising campaign season. ... The president, trying to stave off Democratic losses in the U.S. House and Senate, hits three cities today to urge voters to stick with his health care, energy, and economic recovery plans. During the rally in Virginia, he said, "the reason we're here is because the lumps we've taken are nothing like the lumps that people have been taking for so many years out there." (Jackson, 10/30).
Roll Call: "With his party facing potentially historic losses at the polls Tuesday, President Barack Obama used his weekly address to appeal for more bipartisan cooperation to solve the problems that vex the nation. But he also jabbed at the top Republican leaders in Congress, saying they are putting their partisan interests ahead of the nation's needs. House Minority Leader John Boehner delivered the Republican response, saying Tuesday's elections are an opportunity to make 'a break from the direction in which President Obama has taken our country'" (Singer, 10/30).
The Associated Press: "Boehner's comment that 'this is not a time for compromise' came during a recent interview on a conservative radio show. He was trying to rebut a GOP senator's suggestion that repealing the health care law was not in the party's best interest. Republicans have pledged to try to repeal the health care law or undo important parts of it". (Superville, 10/30).
Meanwhile, Kaiser Health News reports that voters in Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma "will have the chance Tuesday to repudiate the new health care law's keystone provision, one that requires almost everyone to have health insurance or face a tax penalty beginning in 2014. Ballots in the three states include proposed amendments to the states' constitutions that would prohibit the enforcement of the individual mandate and other provisions of the law. ... But the ballot initiatives have set off a fierce debate: If they succeed, will they have any effect?" (Miles, 10/30).
The Hill: "A leading Republican predicted that even if a newly empowered GOP doesn't completely repeal the healthcare law, the party will make it unrecognizable over the next few years. 'They will make such big changes to it over the next three years that you won't recognize it,' Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.), the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said on NBC's 'Meet the Press.' ... The chairman of the Democratic National Committee, former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, said Republicans were bringing a purely 'political and partisan agenda,' pointing to comments by Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) that the top priority for Republicans was making Obama 'a one-term president'" (Berman, 10/31).
Los Angeles Times: "In Congress, there are two tactics that a new Republican majority might use to slow healthcare reform. One is to attach amendments to essential, non-healthcare-related legislation to delay new taxes and benefits and undercut cost-control measures (such as the new commission to monitor and control Medicare expenditures). The GOP is also likely to use committee hearings and investigations to harass Obama administration officials and prod federal and state officials to loosen rules and accommodate private insurers" (Jacobs and Skocpol, 10/31).
USA Today, in a separate story: "California Rep. Darrell Issa is ready to take over. If Republicans win control of the House, he would chair the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. As chairman, he would be able to convene hearings, issue subpoenas and pursue investigations. ... Among his first targets, according to spokesman Kurt Bardella, will be spending in the government bailouts, the stimulus bill and the new health care law" (Page, 10/29).