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Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR)
We told everyone that the Florida special election wasn't about Obamacare and that it wasn't going to send Democrats into a tailspin. It hasn't, not in North Carolina or in Arkansas in two key Senate races.
[Sen. Kay] Hagan, like most other Democrats in tough races, is adopting a "keep, but fix" message, hoping to contrast with the "repeal" stance of Republican opponents. Part of that is a matter of necessity -- what else could they really say about the law?--but the outcome of the Florida special election hasn't led to any kind of panic or shift in strategy from her, Morgan Jackson, a Democratic strategist in the state, also told TPM.

That reaction or lack thereof extended to Arkansas, where Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor has also been attacked for backing Obamacare.

With polls showing record support for the law, Republican obsession over Obamacare is about one thing: mobilizing the base, because the GOP base is the only segment of the population that thinks the law should be scrapped. That's what Democrats need to worry about in 2014, not the overall unpopularity of the law.

In fact, the key is taking Republican repeal obsession head on, talking about how much time they've wasted when they could have been doing something about jobs and the economy, talking about how much repeal would take away from people. And, yes, talking about Medicaid expansion. They need to be countering the Kochs' horror stories with the good news stories. They shouldn't be hard to find, there's at least five million of them out there. Those are the stories that will appeal to the people Democrats need to turn out in November.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (30+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:50:41 AM PDT

  •  Democrats really don't have a clue (39+ / 0-)

    on how to use language. What Democrat in their right mind would take a position that we should keep and FIX the ACA. That plays into the republican's talking points that  the ACA is a flawed law. Democrats' position must be that we need to keep and IMPROVE the ACA. Usage of the word improve connotes a moving forward with a law that is working, while  using the word fix  is looking backwards, which is just what the other side wants.

    I wish  democratic consultants  would get a clue someday!

  •  I wonder how McTurtle's repeal (6+ / 0-)

    position will play with all those people in KY who got health insurance this year through KYnect.

    With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 09:33:18 AM PDT

  •  Gawd (11+ / 0-)

    How hard is it really?? All they have to do is spend a day on the internet to locate 10 people in their district who have benefited from ACA and make ads. Even if they don't get on TV, we can certainly make them go viral.

    Duh. I think they are in such a bubble that they really don't have a clue what it's like outside the beltway or $5,000 lunches.

    Money should be treated like any other controlled substance; if you can't use it responsibly then you don't get to use it.

    by La Gitane on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 09:51:04 AM PDT

  •  The problem is the irresistible alliteration (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925

    of “Democrats in disarray.” We should come up with something for Republicans that would similarly act as an earworm in editors' heads. Ideas?

    Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
    Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
    Code Monkey like you!

    Formerly known as Jyrinx.

    by Code Monkey on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 09:51:58 AM PDT

  •  Timing is all. Once public perception is largely (4+ / 0-)

    on the side of Obamacare as part of our fabric, this issue will go away. But these next few months are crucial in that perception and in this next election.

    "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

    by Wildthumb on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 09:52:34 AM PDT

    •  Yep, nothing like expecting the American people (0+ / 0-)

      to be reality-based.  Yeah, they'll come to their senses.  How many believe that Noah's Ark is a true story?

      The Repubs understand how to appeal to people who don't think.  That's what the Dems need to learn instead of believing all they need is time for the truth to sink in.  Passive fools.  

      The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

      by accumbens on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:20:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This constant reinforcing of the "dumbing down" of (0+ / 0-)

        the population has got to depress you as much as it depresses me: let's appeal to anti-science, rumor-mongering, word-of-mouth nonsense in the population to get our points across. Hopeless.

        •  I don't think you have to appeal to those idiocies (0+ / 0-)

          but rather to people's emotions.  That's what the Repubs do.  It's not about reason, it's about emotions.

          The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

          by accumbens on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 03:08:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Of course it's emotions. And it reinforces an (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            accumbens

            irrational society that depresses the crap out of me. We need as much sharp, fresh thinking as possible to help the human race survive into the twenty-first century.

            "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

            by Wildthumb on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 04:11:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  as posted before . . . (5+ / 0-)

    They Dems need to run ads along the lines of:

    for democratic districts:
    Rep X supports Obamacare. What does this mean to you:
    1) Your children are covered until age 26.
    2) You are protected against arbitrary insurance decisions.
    3) Pre-existing conditions no longer prevent you from getting the care you need.

    for gop districts:
    Rep X voted 50 times(or however many times they do it -perhaps with) to repeal Obamacare with no alternatives offered.  What would this mean to you:
    1) Your children would no longer be covered until age 26.
    2) Your insurance will once again be able to cancel your policy at time for any reason.
    3) Pre-existing conditions will once again prevent you from getting the care you need.

  •  missed an edit (0+ / 0-)

    perhaps with a running counter showing the amount each repeal vote costs.

  •  some suggestions any may use (0+ / 0-)

    Republican ruse...
    Republican rant...
    Republican's repugnant comments on healthcare
    Republicans rally for the rich to rule
    Repulsive Republican move to deny healthcare to millions
    Republicans in retrograde...

  •  I think you'll see Democrats speak with more (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, GoodGod, Shockwave, FiredUpInCA

    confidence about Obamacare and actually take credit for an improved economy in districts where that line of argument has resonance as we get closer to election day.  I know the economy isn't where we want it to be but if the GOP were the incumbent party running on these economic data they would be talking 'morning in america'.  Bill Maher hit on this last weekend about messaging.

    Global Shakedown - Alternative rock with something to say. Check out their latest release, "A Time to Recognize": Available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and other major online music sites. Visit http://www.globalshakedown.com.

    by khyber900 on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:09:10 AM PDT

    •  No offense, but it's pathetic when the only people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave

      making sense are comedians.  

      The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

      by accumbens on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:24:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Only if ACA Signup Goals are More than Met (0+ / 0-)

      I'm not sure what the magic numbers would be, but unless those numbers are met, the Democrats will continue to panic and not defend the law. Some, especially in red states will take the Republican position of repeal, others will say that Obamacare needs fixing.

      Conservatism is a moral based philosophy. That is why Republicans have an easier time standing by their convictions. Liberals have more of an Age of Enlightment attitude. Thus, Liberals are more unsure about their beliefs and have trouble standing firm.

  •  Obamacare has helped millions already (0+ / 0-)

    OTOH I have front line information about its implementation that gives me great concern.

    The success of Obamacare in particular in California is crucial for the midterms.  But IMO there is a disconnect.

    The 1 million plus enrolled through Covered California may be the "low hanging fruit". Those who are left to register are primarily about 4 million Latinos.  Most of them had no prior experience with health insurance and limited computer geekisness and many of them are not English speakers.

    I know of many Latino community organizations that have not been contacted to assist in what has to be a paper enrollment process.  I enrolled through the website and I know what I'm talking about.

    It is distressing that not a single Latino with experience in these matters is a member of the Covered California Board of Directors.

    The next months may highlight what I am saying.  I hope I am wrong.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:12:16 AM PDT

  •  sick (0+ / 0-)

    And I am surprised to find out that this law is actually preventing me from obtaining health services. I cannot afford any of the options on the exchange, and I am not eligible for subsidies.

    With my previous health plan that has now been cancelled, I was able to see a doctor for a $30 co-pay.

    I now cannot afford to visit a doctor at all.

    This right-wing Republican plan of individual mandate is unconscionable.

    -- Ryvr
    END THIS WAR NOW

    by Ryvr on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:21:32 AM PDT

    •  fine (0+ / 0-)

      I understand that nobody cares, but I wish you wouldn't all be gloating about how great your right-wing forced privatization of healthcare is.

      -- Ryvr
      END THIS WAR NOW

      by Ryvr on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:43:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  instead of posting on DKos, call your state reps (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FiredUpInCA, FindingMyVoice, Miggles

        and your governor. They're the ones who are screwing you.

        And apply for medicaid anyways.

        Even if your state hasn’t expanded Medicaid coverage, you should still apply. The Medicaid program provides health coverage to millions of lower-income individuals and families today. You may qualify under your state’s existing rules. Use the “Get state information” menu at the bottom of this page to get contact information for your state Medicaid office. The office can tell you whether you qualify.
        https://www.healthcare.gov/...

        You may want to consider moving to a state that accepted the medicaid expansion.

  •  Uninsured people getting health care is the worst (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bufffan20, FindingMyVoice

    thing that could possibly happen.

    Now faith based healing will be left by the wayside. They will all become infidels.

    Now they have the 2nd (safety net for sloppy) Amendment, and can't be infringed to actually treat their gun like a gun and not a video game controller.

    by 88kathy on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:28:01 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for this great article Joan. Yes, we (0+ / 0-)

    Democrats need to re-focus or messaging around health care. We have the winning message here. Although, I like to be sensitive about insensitive "doggist" allusions, this is one occasion where it is perhaps appropriate to say, we should aim to "upamp" or message and clobber those Republicans with our vastly superior health care program and sent them scampering away with their "tails between their legs."

    If we look at the actual primitive details, of their non-existent healthcare plans, we quickly see that their "bark is worse than their bite." Their lack of compassion for those without health care is shameful.

    The GOP is "barking up the wrong tree" if they think they can look voters in the eye if Democrats have the courage to stand tall and face them eye to eye with anecdotes about those without insurance, and what it means to those with preexisting, conditions, recission etc.

    Letting the GOP take the debate into the weeds about a few start-up snafus with the website, is "letting the tail wag the dog." "That dog want hunt" if we don't let it.

    Do you remember how much things changed in the August recess before 2010 when he Tea Party seemed to come out of nowhere to surprise everyone? That's what I want us Democrats to do, and I think we have the issues on our side to do it if we can muster up the fire in our bellies, with some of our old time Democratic fervor.

    Yes, we've had some hard times and some disappointments, but we also know in our hearts of hearts, that our approach, our intentions, our people, our policies, our inclusiveness, our compassion, and our vision for American and our fellow Americans is right on target and so much better than that of the Republicans that we can all pull the the stops on electoral enthusiasm without any fear of lack of authenticity.

    This is how politics works in these modern times folks. Sometime we have to pretend a little bit we are happier than we really are to get done what we got to do.

    Heck, I just confessed here,  last week, I suffer from major clinical depression, which is only in partial remission, which caused me to lose nearly everything I had except for the love of my son. My home, my career, my international reputation, and INC500 business, my ex-wife, my house, had to declare bankruptcy, and was homeless for several years after being one of the one percenters.

    Yet, many of you probably think I'm one of the most cheerful people around here. Because I realize it doesn't make much sense to mope about and let things get worse.

    Let's identify those most important things we can do to make the world a better place for us and and loved ones, and reduce suffering in the world, and do the best we can.

    Improving health care and reducing the Republican stranglehold on this country and the world are two things that come together conveniently in this case.

    At the very least, we must hold onto the Senate in 2014 and minimize any loses in the House, so we can regroup in the 2016 and prevent the GOP form bashing the Judicial system.

    But, I don't think we should give up the hope, that in some sort of extraordinary turnout success we can fire up our women, our people of color, our Latinos, our young people, our men, our grumpy old white men, why yes, every last single one of our Democrats to say, this time it is going to be different, because it has to be. We are going to come out and vote, and send these Republicans running home with their "tails between their legs."  

    And, send this country a message, that the Democrats are back in gear and we're going to make this country a better place just like we said we were before the Republicans intentional and shamefully, threw a wrench in the gears for political horseshit. And, everyone knows that's true especially them. Heck, if we tell it like it is we might even have some of the Republicans voting for us out of shame for what they have done to this country and their fellow Americans, and our future generations.

    "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

    by HoundDog on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:33:17 AM PDT

  •  The polling now (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA

    Isn't the polling strong enough now for the Democrats to start running "Republicans want to take away your Health Care" ads?

    Misconduct by the government is by definition NOT a government secret.

    by Doug in SF on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:35:54 AM PDT

  •  We're just in our standard, ordinary disarray. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA

    Reporting on the Democratic Party's internal politics is a bit like having your mother visit, walk in the front door, and scream, "Oh my God, someone broke in and ransacked your apartment!"

    Uh, no, Ma. Here, let me clear off the couch so you can sit.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:38:22 AM PDT

  •  Run on/with Obamacare, and win. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sweatyb

    Run against it and distance yourself from President Obama and kiss your win good-bye.  Even in red states.

    But this is why Republicans have a chance at the Senate and holding the House despite their obstructionism, no jobs bill, ignoring immigration reform, etc...Democrats are just as fucking stupid and cowardly as they need to be to keep Republicans in the game.

    Seriously, the DNC needs to take a self-esteem class and learn the power of positive thinking.  Act like a winner and be one.  No, it doesn't work in most of every day life, but if there's one thing the GOP has shown, it works like a charm on the electorate.

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:43:44 AM PDT

  •  Yes they are and they are in Total Panic (0+ / 0-)

    I know part of your job is to be optimistic and rally the Democratic base. But objectively, the Democrats are in panic and they are running a way from the ACA. The Republicans are united, and will definitely repeal the ACA if they can control all branches in government in 2017. They don't need 60 senators because in 2017, if the GOP has the majority, enough Democrats will vote for repeal to break a fillibuster. The big hope for Democrats is if ACA signup goals are more than met. Thus, there is still hope, and I'll tell you next month if the Democrats really should be in panic.

    The problem with Democrats is they don't know how to stand firm. They assume they can't change public opinion, so they use polling to find the center. In contrast, conservatives try to MOVE THE Center. Notice the Republicans have never wavered on their position of repealing the law. On the other hand, Democrats don't defend the law and admit that it needs fixing rather than improving.

    This why Democrat usually lose the debate on most issues. Instead of holding firm and defend their positions, they try to placate the center. With the Republicans trying to move the center to the right, the long run result is a more conservative country because the Overton Window keeps moving right.

    •  Nate Silver reported that the Republicans have (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bufffan20, katesmom

      a 60% chance of winning 6 Senate seats and controlling the senate. He was very cautious and stated that this  could chnge. We can make it change. Bing a wimp is not going to change any real prediction anc excite people to go to the polls and voge D.
      we want an outcome, go out and make it happen!

      a long habit of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.

      by Jamesleo on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 11:05:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How about some of our own horror stories? (0+ / 0-)

    The Koch brother's horror stories are about upper-middle class people who have to accept the "horror" of more expensive, but better coverage.

    The real horror stories are the ones about people in states that did not expand Medicaid coverage and now have nothing.  It is about the rural hospitals that are closing in states like Georgia because they are in counties where 25% of the residents have no insurance and no Medicaid.  It is about the people who prior to the ACA had their coverage cancelled, really cancelled and got sick or had their premiums skyrocket after an illness or who lost their job and could not afford COBRA coverage.  Real people, real horror stories, they should be told.

    The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones! - John Maynard Keynes

    by Do Something on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 11:28:52 AM PDT

  •  ACA (aka Obamacare) will only get better and bette (0+ / 0-)

    Look.  It is tough to argue that putting the ACA into place has been a total disaster so far.  But, it is also tough to argue that with each passing week, it is getting better and better.  More people enrolling.  Less incidents of people having their existing coverage and personal physicians being taken away.  Many, many stories of decreasing coverage costs for so many people.

    We got a little "shock treatment" at first, but within just a few months, Obamacare is going to be a word that will drop off the lips of republicans.  

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