Tevi Troy at Contentions cites studies by Stanford University and the University of Minnesota finding that at least one-third of the 63-seat Democratic loss in the House of Representatives can be attributed to the electorate’s negative reaction to the health-care bill. In other words, that legislation was responsible for turning a bad election and into a historically awful one for the Dems.
I don’t know what methodology these two studies used, but their conclusion seems plausible enough. Indeed, if one combines displeasure over the merits of the health-care bill with dismay over what it symbolized — Obama’s broken promise to be post-partisan — it’s not difficult to believe that the Obamacare cost the Dems more than one-third of their losses in the House.
Troy’s reference to the two studies appears in the opening paragraph of his very worthwhile article in the January 2011 issue of Commentary called “The Democrats and Health Care.” After noting the central role Obamacare played in the 2012 election, Troy goes back in time to recount how Obama rejected warnings from Joe Biden, Rahm Emanuel, and others of just such a scenario. In other words, the electoral disaster was not only foreseeable, it was foreseen by the president’s men.
Any liberal president would have wanted to adopt far-reaching health care reform — it’s been a staple of the Democrats’ agenda for decades. But an ordinary liberal president would have heeded the advice of ordinary liberals like Biden and Emanuel to back off given the mood of the electorate. Obama’s insistence on forging ahead in the face of these warnings is evidence that he is a socialist.
There are other possible explanations for Obama’s persistence, to be sure. The best is Obama’s arrogance, which comes through in Troy’s account. But then, socialism and arrogance are not mutually exclusive.
Troy also looks ahead to discuss the possibility of repeal, citing two possible avenues:
There is actual legislative repeal, passed by both Houses and signed by the president, which cannot happen until 2013 at the earliest. And there is effective repeal, in which the body politic rejects the substance of the bill, seeks waivers and exemptions, supports defunding important provisions, and challenges it in court, all of which would have the effect of making the whole scheme unworkable.
The battles associated with “effective repeal” may shape the 2012 election through which legislative repeal might be accomplished.