Not quite gone, but… Democrats have serious messaging challenges.
Howard Fineman, as insider as it comes, but also someone who pontificated about the importance of health care to Obama and Democrats, is getting a helping of humble pie, which is reportedly being delivered by a Democrat. Well, actually he’s choking on it, but we won’t be too hard on Howard, as he’s not alone, but also because it was obviously painful to write his post. Talking about Democratic fortunes and a potential whupping at the polls coming in November, Mr. Fineman asks a couple of questions in his column, including “it’s not clear why they will change much between now and November,” But there’s a better question: Just how and what will Democrats say about explain health care to change the perception? From Fineman:
A Democratic senator I can’t name, who reluctantly voted for the health-care bill out of loyalty to his party and his admiration for Barack Obama, privately complained to me that the measure was political folly, in part because of the way it goes into effect: some taxes first, most benefits later, and rate hikes by insurance companies in between.
The delayed goodies is the biggest problem, especially when you have such an outlay for the poor, and absolutely no competition to keep insurance companies from hiking rates to the sky.
Howard better be careful or he won’t get invited back on “Countdown.”
The good news is that new Gallup numbers show that people think the “overall health of Americans” will go up because of the Democratic bill, but also that a small majority think health care coverage will “get better.” As for costs, quality, and the deficit, Democrats are in real trouble, including on “your family” perceptions, which likely goes beyond the bill itself to the Democratic brand of “big government health care plan” labeling during economic challenges when populism is more popular. From Gallup:
Throughout Fineman’s piece he tries to deliver the bad news softly, because he knows it’s not popular to rain on the Democratic health care parade.
Fineman: I say this even though I was one of those who always said that Obama would get a bill passed…
Fineman again: Some polling experts suggest Rasmussen’s “house effect” tilts slightly conservative…
Fineman finally: The first week of salesmanship by the Democrats and the president hasn’t done any good…
The bill has passed, which in political terms for Obama is better than if it had failed, however, that’s quite different from what helps Democrats in Congress during a year of the mob.
Obamacare gives 32 million access to health care, though that doesn’t mean people can afford it; with the Medicaid expansion particularly important and the only cover provided to vote for it (as far as I’m concerned). I always believed the pre-existing condition language would be seductive, but too expensive in the long run for most people, because the rates will be raised until… The compromises on women’s rights, well…
Fineman also writes the Administration’s current plan: They’re content, for now, to focus on solidifying their Democratic base.
Someone sometime somewhere is gong to have to disassemble this talking point, which isn’t nearly as clear as traditional media and new media insiders pretend.
Many remain hungover from the rotgut health care high, of which Fineman’s Democrat is one.
There was a simple calculus Democrats flunked. The Keep It Simple, Stupid rule of politics. They had a choice and chance to do it that way, but opted for the convoluted, which in political terms translates to bad news, because when government programs get too hard to explain, people other than your base bolt.
With 61% believing that the deficit will get worse, according to Gallup, opposed to 23% get better, and 14% stay the same, the latest numbers on the deficit reveal why independents just aren’t going to buy what has been done, which they will attach to Democrats this November.
Of course, this won’t affect Pres. Obama.
But if Democrats can’t change the health care narrative before November there’s a very good reason to bet that he won’t have Speaker Nancy Pelosi to fight his congressional battles for him anymore.