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A man hides from the rain under his sign at a Tea Party Patriots rally calling for the repeal of the 2010 healthcare law championed by President Barack Obama, on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 24, 2012.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Obamacare is not withering on the vine. The sky hasn't fallen and the Koch brothers haven't even been able to manufacture an Obamacare "horror story" in months. The white-hot hate of Obamacare as faded, House Republicans have basically cried uncle on fighting it legislatively, and Americans in general want little more than for it to just go away as a political issue.

And still Republicans persist in trying to make it an issue for 2014, but with ever-diminishing returns. One set of pollsters has tried a whopping 57 critical statements with likely voters trying to find ones that stick. They aren't having a lot of luck.

Some of the arguments that voters found most “persuasive”—that scads of people would be forced off of their health plans and into more expensive coverage, that Obamacare is a Washington takeover of health care and that it’s driving premiums through the roof and forcing businesses to cut worker hours—are contested by Democrats and murky at best. In fact, most Americans report that they‘ve had no direct experience with the law, according to a July tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. […]

“Our candidates are not fearful of these attacks,” said Stan Greenberg, a Democrat-aligned pollster. When he reads messages like the ones touted by the American Action Network to focus groups in battleground states, Greenberg said, “People roll their eyes.”

“It’s always easy to message anything when you’re not tethered to any sense of reality,” added Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a White House ally.

The attacks will continue, though, because the Republican pollsters are convincing themselves the messages work by screening out all of the people who will disagree with them: "The GOP memo, by design, likely showed higher-intensity support for the criticisms because it excluded people who said they 'strongly support' Obamacare." That's all about base motivation, trying to keep the tea partiers—disappointed that the people they elected haven't repealed the law—engaged, while trying to win over some independents. Their only option is to go even more and more extreme. And that's going to appeal to a smaller and smaller group as the campaign wears on.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 09:29 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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