A GOP STRATEGY? – AT 10:54 A.M. ET: It's only the first of the year, but already the politicians are talking election strategy. The Politico reports on one possible GOP strategy that looks a little dicey at best:
Republicans hope a push to repeal the Democrats' health care bill will inspire voters to turn out for them in the 2010 elections — even though some of them admit that it has no realistic chance of working.
“We have to repeal very substantial parts of it and that’s not going to be easy,” said Republican Pat Toomey, who's running for the Senate in Pennsylvania. “I’m not sitting here predicting that a president who signs this into law in 2010 is likely to sign a repeal in 2011.”
The repeal-or-bust strategy is designed to give Republican candidates a powerful talking point for the midterms — a way to tap into deep anxiety about the health care plan among the GOP base and independent voters.
Even before a final version of the bill has reached President Barack Obama's desk, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and several House members have promised to introduce legislation repealing it if it resembles the bill that passed the Senate last week.
“The legislation would serve as a rallying call for Americans to once again express their opposition,” said Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), who supports a full repeal.
COMMENT: That strikes me as a semi-good strategy. As a campaign slogan, it's fine to shout REPEAL! But Republicans must be conscious of the fact that, despite the administration's plunge in approval ratings, the GOP remains unpopular. One reason is that it's seen as purely a negative force. If Republicans want to argue for repeal, a political pipe dream, they have to present an attractive health reform package that will make them the party of optimism and progress – which is exactly how Ronald Reagan ran for president.
January 1, 2010