NEWS BLOG (WSAU) – I’ve blogged about this before, and the recent events in the healthcare debate haven’t changed my mind. Republicans are overplaying what will happen in the mid-term elections in the wake of healthcare reform.
First, the health care bill will never be more unpopular than it is now. President Obama speaking tour will boost public opinion. And some of the most popular benefits take effect immediately. Remember, the “good stuff”—like not being dropped for preexisting conditions – are front-loaded in the bill. The “bad stuff” – tax increases and new regulations – don’t come until four and five years from now.
Second, while voters were disgusted by the political process, they are also realists. Undoing an entitlement program is almost impossible. Republicans campaigning on repealing healthcare reform are flat-out lying. They would not be able to repeal it. The GOP won’t have a two-thirds majority to override President Obama’s certain veto. Even if Republicans get control of congress and the White House in 2012, they’d need 60 votes in the Senate to repeal less they appear hypocritical over the current reconciliation debate.
Finally, time is working against the Republicans. The President controls the political agenda, and he will put other matters on the nation’s plate over the next eight months. For Republicans Election Day can’t come soon enough. For Democrats time will heal some, but not all, of the wounds.
So what will happen?
I still think there will be substantial Democrat losses this November. Dems who flip-flopped on healthcare will be beaten. Those who hail from swing-states in boarder districts will be voted out. But Democrats in safe seats will survive this. If I was going to bet, Republican gains will not be big enough to control either house of congress.
Operations Manager-Midwest Communications, Wausau