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What do you do when you've spent four years telling everybody and their brother that "Obamacare should be repealed root and branch" but then it turns out that Obamacare is delivering so many benefits to your state that even your home state Republicans don't want to get rid of its Medicaid expansion?

First, you start running an ad about how you're actually totally in favor of providing health care services to people who need them. And then you get your buddies at the Chamber of Commerce to help pivot you away from the teahadist message of repeal to a message about how you're leading the fight to "fix" Obamacare.

And as it's become clear that taking a hardline repeal Obamacare position isn't a political winner, that's pretty much what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been doing over the past few weeks. Of course, he's also got the added complication of having a primary challenge from the Right, so he needs his pals to be especially clever with their "fix" wording.

Their solution, which you can see in the ad at the top of this post, is to say that McConnell is "leading the fight to fix this Obamacare mess" which to most people sounds like McConnell isn't focused on repeal, but instead just wants to make Obamacare work better. That's exactly where the country is, but it's not where GOP primary voters are. So the Chamber ad splits hairs by using language that is technically consistent with his repeal (because he can say that it's the "mess" that he's proposing to fix, and that he can only fix the mess by repealing Obamacare), but is designed to suggest that his focus is simply on making Obamacare better.

The fact that McConnell is walking on eggshells when it comes to Obamacare is all the evidence you need to understand how much the politics of health care reform have changed now that it's delivering real benefits on a massive scale. When repeal was an abstract concept, McConnell could bellow about it as loud and obnoxiously as he wanted. But now he can't, because if he did, the only thing he'd accomplish is to remind people that he wants to take away health care from tens if not hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians.

Don't forget, we're still less than two full months into Obamacare being a reality. If things have changed this much already, it's a pretty good bet that President Obama was right when he said that ten years from now, Republicans won't be calling it Obamacare anymore. Instead, they'll be trying to take credit for it.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:50 AM PST.

Also republished by My Old Kentucky Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Excellent post, Jed. (17+ / 0-)

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:52:15 AM PST

    •  Just on cue...I said elsewhere that the day (0+ / 0-)

      will come, when GOP will "accept" and even "defend" Obamacare (just they may not call it Obamacare). This is just the start.
      -These are people who have no grand agenda for the  nation and by default fear anything the rattles the status-quo. Remember these are people who
      -fought against for SS
      -fought against medicare, right? So why would Obamacare be any different.
      -That why 2016's gonna be extremely tricky for the GOP on Obamacare
      -Would they go for repeal root and branch? That doesn't fly with public
      -Would they go for "fix it"? Where does that leave the Tea-haddists/Gopers who have invested the very soul of the GOP in repeal?  

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis, 1935 --Talk of foresight--

      by tuma on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 12:22:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  McTurtle....has had his jackboot on the throat of (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    live1, shoeless, JeffW, starduster

    US progress for about six years now.

  •  "the fight to fix" as used in prizefighting or (5+ / 0-)

    pro wrestling

    First, you start running an ad about how you're actually totally in favor of providing health care services to people who need them. And then you get your buddies at the Chamber of Commerce to help pivot you away from the teahadist message of repeal to a message about how you're leading the fight to "fix" Obamacare.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:54:19 AM PST

  •  The response to this ad should be: (9+ / 0-)

    just clips of mcconnell talking about repeal of it
    concluding with a shot of the candidate with a voice or the candidate speaking something like "McConnell, was he lying then or is he lying now?"

  •  The usual GOP tactic (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless, starduster, Matt Z, GleninCA

    ...every election year start to act and sound like Democrats. Nothing new here.

    "Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face?" - General Jack D. Ripper

    by wilder5121 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 10:02:19 AM PST

  •  No GOPer has ever said "fix" regarding the ACA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Which is more popular in polls than when the identical thing is called "Obamacare". This is due to the only skill GOP has of driving up negatives.  Where did the chamber come up with the term?  Funny thing is the only people spending more money than the Koch brothers on their negative ads is the insurance industry promoting their products on the new market created by the ACA.

    Never promote men who seek after a state-established religion; it is spiritual tyranny--the worst of despotism. It is turnpiking the way to heaven by human law, in order to establish ministerial gates to collect toll. John Leland

    by J Edward on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 10:03:49 AM PST

  •  The traitors at the Chamber of Commerce are scared (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GleninCA, roberb7

    of the American people all of a sudden? They thumbed their noses at us while working diligently to move millions of jobs overseas. How bad is it for them now, that they see the writing on the wall about Obamacare? Do't think for a second that these rat bastards are doing this out of concern for the American people. They are just afraid that they will lose their #1 toadie in the Senate.

    Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfu*king snows on this motherfu*king plain!

    by shoeless on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 10:09:03 AM PST

  •   I signed the petition (0+ / 0-)

    and all i got for it was a really, really bad pic of mcconnell

    i did good-shouldnt i get a girl scout cookie or something?
    that pic was almost a punishment for signing a petition.

  •  Dems need to just change the name on this ad (0+ / 0-)

    and start running it instead of being fearful of Obamacare ads against them.

    Spout 2-3 benefits, acknowledge there are some problems and end by saying I am working to fix this.

  •  they'll definitely (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tampaedski, Elizabeth 44

    remember at some point in the next few years that this was Heritage's idea.

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 10:17:23 AM PST

  •  They will just claim (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elizabeth 44

    President Obama is a Republican if ten years from now ObamaCare part of the national infrastructure.

    All the history books in Texas will claim he is a Republican at the very least.

  •  In warp speed McConnell (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GleninCA, tuma

    went from, "Denying President Obama a second term" to "Leader of the fight to fix Obamacare."

    What's next? The Chamber of Commerce will refer to the ACA, as mcconnellcare.

  •  If the Dems had a brain between them (0+ / 0-)

    Obamacare would have started delivering benefits the day it was passed. But no! They had to wait 6 years!!!

    •  I think you just mean the policies (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but many benefits went into effect immediately, or at least during the years between signing it into law and the exchanges--including allowing parents to keep their children on the parents' existing plan, the restrictions on denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, and several others that I can't think of off the top of my head, but I remember Maddow going through them after the law passed.
      I think the Dems are idiots and cowards for not trumpeting all the good things that had gone into effect during the 2010 elections.  

    •  Please, only 3 years (0+ / 0-)

      and many of the provisions phased in earlier.

      And remember that it had to go through the US Supreme Court, and 50 state legislatures, and website design. Could it have been implemented faster? Perhaps, but such a big change usually works better when people have time to adapt to it.

    •  Obama has been in office 5 years. (0+ / 0-)
      •  ACA was signed by Obama March 23, 2010 (0+ / 0-)

        "if the Dems had a brain between them" [sic], they would get the math that ACA has been a law for just under four years, not six. /snark

        I can't help it. I love the state of Texas. It's a harmless perversion. - Molly Ivins

        by rsmpdx on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 11:39:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  No...could not happen overnight.... (0+ / 0-)

      it had to take yrs.
      -This was a brand new system very sophisticated system
      -All software/systems from scratch
      -About 50 different systems/software had to work in sync.
      -This was a monumental task and endeavor.
      -The issues encountered are nothing new in software
      -The brouhaha over it's launch was simple due to the political underpinnings of the whole thing.
      -Remember Medicare part D (that was simply a tweak to an existing system) wasn't even 1/10th as sophisticated as ObamaCare yet had all sorts of issues on it's launch ( there were even congressional hearings if I remember well - we forget so quickly)

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis, 1935 --Talk of foresight--

      by tuma on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 11:58:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The ACA was signed into law on Mar 23 2010 (0+ / 0-)

      So 4 years, my bad. My point is, we needed some relief (however imperfect it was) right then and there. Did the courts put a stay on its implementation while it was being litigated? If not, why was it not implemented immediately?

  •  Just the kind of Shysterness I'd expect (0+ / 0-)

    from the corrupt, lying McConnell.   He makes me ashamed that I once was a registered Republican.  

  •  Only one 'fix' needed (0+ / 0-)

    Get the young to sign up NOW.   Proof of insurance under ACA should be required to vote.

    You best believe it does

    by HangsLeft on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 10:29:06 AM PST

  •  And the clown show continues (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    these guys are getting really desperate.  i would love to see mc connell lose.

    Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote.

    by Renie57 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 10:29:58 AM PST

  •  We don't have Obamacare yet (0+ / 0-)

    With thousands of exemptions and with postponement after postponement, we haven't really seen the ACA being put into place.  We see only the part of it that can help those that don't have a claim against it or that can't have a claim against it.

    Negative about Obamacare?  Yes, very much so.  I have family that have been severely affected by it and I have friends in that boat as well.  

    This does not take away my belief that eventually it will be good for America that every citizen in our country will be able to have health care.  The problem is, it isn't "affordable" in many cases and many can't "keep your policy and doctor" in many cases.  

    Junk policies?  I know that's the prevailing argument here but we should NEVER allow government officials to tell us what kind of health policy we should have.  That's as personal as being able to choose to have an abortion.  

    Just call me "upset in America".  

    •  Some of us have already seen the benefits (0+ / 0-)

      Maybe you haven't, or maybe you have a preexisting interest in declaring it a failure. Me? I got my cholesterol checked and had my annual physical, at no out-of-pocket charge. And as I walk around icy streets, I know that if I slipped and broke my arm or leg, I can get it taken care of.

      And my daughter gets free birth control. That's huge when you're a 20-something with marginal income.

      •  Yes, I understand (0+ / 0-)

        And, no, your attempt to make me out be something I'm not really is a kind of low blow.

        I do know that a great many people are now and will be helped in a very big way because of Obamacare.  That's a given.  But, on the flip side, many are also realizing increased costs and losing the insurance they liked and the doctors they wanted to keep for various reasons.  Now, if you don't want to believe that or choose to ignore this is happening to many people, then that's your choice.

        The ACA will eventually be a good law if it is what it is said it is.  But, you just HAVE to wonder why there are so many people and businesses and groups receiving exemptions to it (including many of the people that worked to implement it in the first place).  And, who doesn't wonder why there are so many provisions being moved to 2015 and even 2016?  If those provisions are bad, then moving them to another year isn't going to make them suddenly good.  

        It really is a questionable.  And, if I was just one guy questioning this on the left, then I'd feel like I was just wrong.  But, I'm NOT the only democrat that is having trouble with this.

  •  In maybe related news (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    just saw this in downtown Ft. Worth, TX:

    "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

    by just another vet on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 10:33:28 AM PST

  •  I eagerly await his policy ideas (0+ / 0-)

    No doubt Mitch has a number of ideas that will reduce the cost of medical spending, reduce premiums, insure more people, and allow everyone access to affordable health insurance.  

    We all went to heaven in a little rowboat, and there was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt. --Radiohead

    by Tzimisce on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 10:36:48 AM PST

  •  estimates (0+ / 0-)

    I'm sure there are already estimates of how many lives have already been saved because of ACA--why haven't they been publicized?  The best way to fight bullshit is to present facts.

    Actions speak louder than petitions.

    by melvynny on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 10:41:18 AM PST

  •  Fix = repeal or break in "GOP/1984 speak" (0+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 10:43:32 AM PST

  •  Fix, not "repeal?" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Oh, the Teahaddis are going to love this.

    Have an anchor, old buddy.

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 11:24:39 AM PST

  •  Grimes' ad just wrote itself... (0+ / 0-)

    Clips of McConnell talking about repeal, followed by...

    Clips of this ad talking about "fixing" it, then finishing with...

    Statistics from Kynect, Kentucky's insurance exchange:

    231,367 Kentuckians are enrolled in new health coverage, including Medicaid and private insurance.

    181,705 have enrolled in Medicaid and

    49,662 have enrolled in a qualified health plan (QHP).

    Nearly 47% of the enrollees in Medicaid or qualified health plans are under 35 years old.

    59,655 have been found eligible for a subsidy to purchase a qualified health plan, but some have not yet chosen a plan.

    15,684 have enrolled in dental plans.

    569 businesses have completed applications and are eligible to offer coverage to employees.

    Those are the most recent figures; they can only rise.

    As of today, it looks like the average Kentucky county has seen around 5% of its residents gain health insurance or Medicaid through the ACA exchange.  That isn't 5% of the previously uninsured, but rather 5% of the entire population.

    That means that once you get out "in the state" to the less populated counties, pretty much everyone is going to know someone who benefited from Obamacare. Remember Owsley County, which the National Review named "The White Ghetto"? Well, as of today more than 10% of its residents have secured either insurance or Medicaid coverage. It's going to be hard to sell the ACA as "broken" when that many people finally have decent medical insurance.

    I'd also REALLY hit hard on the fact that almost half--FORTY-SEVEN PERCENT!--of those newly covered folks are aged 35 and younger.  That's a "helping you toward a better future" point that we need to be putting front and center.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 12:50:26 PM PST

  •  Fix - begs for a pic of a dog with furrowed brow. (0+ / 0-)


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