New Hampshire is a good example of a state where the Obamacare disaster could make a Senate race unexpectedly competitive. Without Obamacare dragging her down, incumbent Jeanne Shaheen would be a prohibitive favorite for re-election. But a recent poll shows her in a dead heat with Scott Brown, who has moved to the state and is mulling the possibility of a run.
This New Hampshire Journal article illustrates what a millstone Obamacare has become around the necks of Democratic Senate candidates. Shaheen voted for the ACA, but now admits that the law is riddled with problems. Many citizens of New Hampshire have lost their doctors and hospitals under Obamacare; the problem may be even worse than in most other states. But Shaheen says she may have a solution: she is pursuing regulatory relief and possibly legislation, so that “[a]t least for people who are willing to pay more, that they have that option of going to their doctor and hospital no matter what their insurer does.” That was Barack Obama promised, wasn’t it? You can keep your doctor if you are willing to pay more? And, as Shaheen acknowledges, that would be an improvement over Obamacare as it exists today.
At the link, you can hear the audio of an interview with Shaheen. The language quoted above is the kind of sound bite that can, and should, dog her from now until November. Moreover, Democrats like Shaheen face a dilemma. Would it really help them to admit error, and say that it was a mistake to vote for Obamacare? Probably not. Apart from looking silly if they admit that they didn’t know what was in the law when they voted for it, expressing regret would inevitably lead to the question, So, are you willing to pledge that you will vote to repeal Obamacare?
So when asked if she would vote for Obamacare today, knowing what we now know about the law, Shaheen could only equivocate:
Later in the interview, Shaheen refused to state definitively whether or not she’d vote for ObamaCare again knowing what she knows about the law now. “I would’ve designed it differently had I been designing it. I wasn’t the person who was writing the law. Hindsight is 20/20,” she said.
In political terms, this is blood in the water. By November, millions more Americans will lose their health insurance or will learn that they must pay more to keep it. Obamacare will be a worse problem for Democrats than it is today. That could spell trouble for Jeanne Shaheen, whether Brown gets into the race or not.