In the first half of October 2013, the Republicans shut down the government. The people were very unhappy with the Republicans. Just over one year later, these very same people voted for those same Republicans they were so angry at only a year before by a whopping 5.6 percentage points in the House. I understand. Elections are not about changed opinions. They are about who shows up to vote. But all that means is that many of the people who were angry weren’t angry enough to vote. What’s more, among those people who voted for such Republican winners as Sam Brownback and Ed Gillespie must have been a lot of people who were angry just a year earlier.
It is in this context that I call foul on Jonathan Chait in an article yesterday, Why the New Lawsuit Won’t Kill Obamacare. The irony is that I’ve made the same case. The truth is that the people will be hopping mad if they suddenly find the Supreme Court has caused their healthcare premiums to skyrocket. In a sane world, those people would blame the Republicans. Indeed, they might very well well blame the Republicans. For a month. Maybe two. But by November 2016, I doubt they will remember their anger. Whatever anger they might have will easily be transferred to the Democrats.
The real problem is that Obama forced a government take over of healthcare. In a real American “free market” system you would have no problem! You didn’t have this problem before Obamacare, did you? So it’s Obama’s fault! It’s the Democrats’ fault! The Republicans aren’t responsible for this. They didn’t even want this law. They were looking out for you the whole time when they were doing everything they could to deprive you of healthcare and make you pay as much as possible. Yeah, that’s the ticket! It’s the Democrats who did this do you!
Trust me, I’d love to believe that this isn’t the case. But think about the situation in Iraq right now. Do you really think the Sunday morning political shows would be featuring all the guys who screwed up the situation in Iraq in the first place if it weren’t for the fact that the viewing audience hadn’t totally forgotten who was responsible for the Iraq War? George W Bush currently has a higher approval rating than Barack Obama. Why is that? Because the American electorate has the memory of a goldfish.
I have to wonder if there is something wrong with Chait. Because he noted that while this would be a Democratic victory, it might take years to achieve. And what of those people — huge numbers of which would die? This is not all about politics. Ultimately — in the last paragraph of an 18 paragraph article — he argues that this is why John Roberts won’t waste his political capital on this case. I tend to agree that Roberts is not going to go along with this ridiculous lawsuit. But I doubt very seriously that his calculation includes a five year political battle that the Republicans might lose.
The Republicans are remarkably good at getting people to vote based on resentment of the wrong people. And I have no problem believing that a clear majority might vote against the Democrats for giving “those people” healthcare and thus harming the good hard working Americans who the Republicans have spent the last 34 years harming. And I know as a matter of fact that Jonathan Chait knows this. So I don’t know who he is trying to fool. Maybe himself.