Obamacare: Is the repeal for real?
By Steve Savant
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said, “If elected as president, I will repeal Obamacare on my first day in office.” Tea Party favorite Senator Michelle Bachman has been repeating the same mantra as Mitt and her Republican colleagues. But is that just party line bravado? In there any real chance Obamacare can be repealed?
Speaking of bravado, California Congresswomen and former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Obamacare was “ironclad.” Her statement was meant to suck the air out the room because iron rusts when it’s exposed to oxygen. The most common anti-rust treatment to protect iron is to galvanize it in a tank of molten hot zinc. With more than half of all Americans still opposed to Obamacare, galvanizing independents to coalesce around the Supreme Court victory isn’t going to happen. And that reality may extend to the president himself. No one’s buying the “ironclad” kool-aid being sold in front of Nancy’s house. Well, it isn’t her house anymore. They’re buying tea by the gallons, galvanized around the economic platforms of the tea (taxed enough already) party.
The independent voters will control the 2012 election. The majority of independent voters are middle class, federal tax payers. If the DNC can’t re-characterize the tax as a simple penalty for non-participants in Obamacare, they stand to lose the entire election across the board.
If the tea leaves are correct, then independents voters are fed up with stimulus spending and high unemployment, which could spell real trouble for the Democrats in November. But are independents fed up enough to send 60 Republicans to the Senate? That’s unlikely.
What might happen is a narrow Republican victory that could hit the political trifecta: the presidency, the House and the Senate. Winning the Triple Crown would put the GOP in a position to neutralize Obamacare with a one page reconciliation bill that only needs 50 Senate votes. Here’s how it could happen.
The presidential race was already tight before the SCOTUS ruling. Just 24 hours later, the Romney campaign received $4 million, a significant indication of windfall donations yet to come. This may be the biggest campaign spending spree in U.S. election history, enough perhaps to fund the first year of Obamacare.
But money aside, Mitt needs to stay on message. And that message is, “It’s the economy stupid.”
He must insert the financial impact of Obamacare on federal taxes, Medicare benefits and the nation’s $16 trillion debt. The swing states that are in play are in play because of independents, libertarians and fiscally conservative Democrats. Staying on message, staying on the economy is what they want to hear. If Romney can remain above the current political fray, do reasonably well in the debates and stay away from the albatross of Romneycare, he could win a narrow Electoral College victory. Current polling suggests that the House of Representatives will remain in Republican hands, so the real battle ground is in the Senate. Here’s the preview:
Republicans hold 47 seats with 10 seats up for reelection, and 4 of those seats could go either way. The Democrats hold 53 seats with 23 seats up for reelection, and 10 of those seats are toss-ups. It’s still too early for scientific polling, but the Republicans could legitimately lose two of the four vulnerable seats. The real game is in the Democratic races, where the DNC could very well lose five of 10 seats currently up for grabs. Under this scenario, the Republicans win 50 seats, with Mitt Romney’s vice president casting the tie-breaking vote. That’s not repeal, but for all practical purposes, it would gut the spending provisions of Obamacare and make it worthless to implement.
For those opposed to Obamacare, the November 6th election is the last real opportunity to stop what the Supreme Court affirmed. After that, the Republicans can only hope that the apocalyptic predictions of the end of the world predicted by the Mayan calendar actually occur.