I thought this was geniusy, and a point I haven’t heard anybody else make. It’s Rick Hertzberg commenting on the GOP’s plan to run their 2010 campaigns on repealing health care reform:
…they’re convinced that running against health-care reform will win them seats they otherwise wouldn’t get. But responsible Washington observers have been responsibly observing for months that it was obviously a terrible mistake for Obama to “focus” on health care at a time when “the American people” obviously wanted the “focus” to be on “jobs.”
As we now know, responsible Washington observers were wrong. But it is probably true that “jobs” are the main concern of a great many Americans, especially now that the health-care logjam has been broken. So for the next seven months the Republicans are going to “focus” not on jobs but on health-care reform? And not on doing it but on getting rid of it?
I don’t think so.
After seeing this ugly mess drag on for a year, I think the whole country has a serious case of health care fatigue. Just look at the polling data. At first, people wanted it. The longer the process dragged out, the less they wanted it. Eventually, they didn’t want it at all. Now that it has passed, polls already show they like it again. Yet, throughout that entire time, the individual policy elements of the bill remained popular; those numbers hardly moved at all.
In other words, people got sick and tired of hearing the politicians fight over health care and wanted the whole thing to just go away so they could have some peace and quiet. At bottom, they didn’t much care if it went away by getting dropped or getting passed, so long as they didn’t have to hear about it for one more *$&#! second. Now that (and because) they think everybody’s finally going to shut up about it, they’re happy it passed.
If it were me, and I needed to endear myself to voters, I don’t think my first idea would be to keep banging a kettle about health care for the next 7 months. But that’s just me.