If Obamacare is this unpopular in the afterglow of Obama’s East Room signing ceremony (where Joe Biden proved he is the gift that keeps on giving when he dropped the f-bomb) and the media’s cheerleading, how unpopular might it be when the American people vote in seven months? There are no benefits for the vast majority of the population until 2014 or later, while the bureaucracy, taxes, and regulations begin now. Obama got it exactly backwards: he led with the pain, and saved the sweet stuff for later. There will be no class of federal beneficiaries voting to protect their benefits in November, only millions of seniors mad about Medicare cuts and small businessmen and women livid about their tax increases.
The process by which this legislation was cynical and corrupt. Democrats breezily insist the American people don’t care about “process.” They claim no one cares about the bribes, the bullying, the backroom deals. That is insulting and suggests voters don’t care about the integrity of their leaders. The Cornhusker Kickback, Louisiana Purchase, gimmicky accounting, eleventh hour executive order to pacify pro-life Democrats, hundreds of millions in Medicare and Medicaid hand-outs to the last few wavering voters, all made a mockery of Nancy Pelosi’s vow to run the most ethical House in history. Kimberly Strassel at the Wall Street Journal has catalogued the sad tale of corruption HERE.
When politicians insist that how a bill becomes a law is “inside baseball,” brace for a voter backlash. I was Georgia Republican party chairman when the Democrats in my state passed the most brazenly gerrymandered redistricting plan in modern times, carving up towns, counties, and communities for partisan advantage. After Governor Roy Barnes rammed the reapportionment plan through the legislature, I was on a panel with a lot of smart, erudite pundits at the Georgia Municipal Association who assured the audience that voters would not care because reapportionment was complicated and process-oriented. I thought they were wrong and that voters would resent the manner in which their representation in Washington and Atlanta had been distorted for raw political power. But I was clearly alone in that view. A few months later I bumped into then-Senator Zell Miller at an event at the World Congress Center. “I followed what you’ve been saying about redistricting,” he said. “When the voters go to the polls, they’re going to ask themselves one question: Who did this to me?” Zell cocked his head and tapped my chest with his index finger for emphasis. “You just watch,” he said. That November Republicans elected the first GOP governor since Reconstruction and gained control of the state Senate after winning an unprecedented number of seats and then having four Democrat state Senators switch parties. (Governor-elect Sonny Perdue was on the phone until the wee hours with his former Democrat colleagues persuading them to cross the aisle and Republicans promptly redrew the Congressional and state legislative districts to preserve towns, counties, and communities.) The pundits were wrong. Voters care about process, especially when they know they’ve been played for fools.
Obamacare is a disastrous law by any measure. Substantively, politically, and from as a legislative process it is an affront to the American people and an assault on our individual freedom and proper representative government.
Ralph Reed is founder and president of Century Strategies, a public relations and public affairs firm with offices in Atlanta and Washington. He is the former chairman of the Georgia Republican Party.