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With Republicans dialing back their attacks on Obamacare, an interesting development:
In what may be the first, and certainly the most ambitious, such effort of the year, Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas is going up with a new and emotional ad that is focused solely on presenting his vote for health reform as a positive.
And on Wednesday during a candidate forum in Kentucky, Democratic Senate nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes pushed back on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's pro-repeal position:
"Mitch McConnell—if he had his way—he would take us back to the days when just being a woman was a pre-existing condition," she said.

"For the first time ever, because of our governor, 500,000 Kentuckians are able to go to the doctor, kids are getting checkups before school, and many of whom are farm families in rural Kentucky."

Grimes, by turning the tables on McConnell, actually went further than Pryor, but Pryor's pitch is backed by a six-figure statewide media buy, so it's still a meaningful move on his part. Nonetheless, as Jason Linkins notes, Pryor doesn't actually refer to Obamacare or even the Affordable Care Act, choosing instead to describe it as "a law" that he "helped pass."

Ultimately, I suspect Pryor is going to need to get a bit more explicit if he wants to convince Arkansans he made the right decision in voting for health care reform, but this ad certainly sets the stage for him to do so—and ultimately go on offense.

The thing both Grimes and Pryor are worried about is that Republicans will use their support for Obamacare as a way of making the case that they are rubber stamps for President Obama, who is unpopular in both Arkansas and Kentucky. But that case was much easier for Republicans to make when Obamacare was nothing but pieces of paper—now that it's actually taken effect, hundreds of thousands of people in both states now have insurance.

Now healthcare reform is delivering tangible benefits, Pryor, Grimes, and other Democratic candidates around the country have the easiest case in the world to make against Republicans trying to make the rubber-stamp argument: They can point out that their support for health care reform has nothing to do with loyalty to their party's president, and instead has everything to do with wanting to help the people in their states and districts. If anyone is a rubber stamp, it's the GOP: And their position, as Grimes pointed out, is to repeal health insurance from millions of people around the country. That's a winning argument for Democrats to make, and hopefully the latest moves by Pryor and Grimes are signs of good things to come across the board.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I think (10+ / 0-)

    Kos can say I told you so. He has been saying this would happen all along.

  •  Wouldn't it be nice (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jck, ktowntennesseedem, Dustee

    though if the voters in those states made the connection between what the candidates are saying in the ads and the ACA? I'm glad the candidates are touting the benefits but their voters do not know they are referring to Obamacare. Because we all know (due to the conservative media and the administrations non-existent public education campaign) that Obamacare is all about death panels, taking away your doctor, blah, blah, blah...

    •  Many never will make the connection, (0+ / 0-)

      or at least won't for a long time. However, some WILL make the connection, and those who don't probably would be voting GOP this November anyway. Not a lot to lose IMO, and likely enough to gain to offset any loss.

      I agree that most of their voters likely don't know they are talking about Obamacare, but perhaps it's best to introduce that idea gradually. Blurting out "I love Obamacare!" too soon and too early might be a bit of a shock. And besides, Cotton and McConnell will be all too happy to point that out.

      “Humanity's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but humanity's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.” ― Reinhold Niebuhr

      by ktowntennesseedem on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 04:14:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's about time Grimes picked this up (5+ / 0-)

    Previously she's been pretty much avoiding the subject, and yet it seems to me that McConnell has to be vulnerable on this issue given the immense benefit KYNECT has brought to the state.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 03:57:44 PM PDT

    •  Grimes has been campaigning on (0+ / 0-)

      McConnell wanting to take away Kynect in general and black lung benefits for coal miners in particular. She cannot say the words Obamacare or ACA in Kentucky. Others need to do so.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 05:10:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dems would be smart to put ObamACAre front (4+ / 0-)

    and center. "How's socialized medicine workin' for ya?"

    I've saved over $6400 this year so far. Thanks for asking.

    •  Not everywhere, sadly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rube Goldberg

      In many parts of the country, it's still toxic to mention Obamacare.

      Kentucky is definitely one of those places. Kynect is cool, but Obamacare is apparently the biggest threat to humanity ever.

    •  They're stupid if they don't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Even if Obamacare isn't popular (I haven't seen any recent polls), the last time I checked the individual components of the law are very popular. Dems should point out that A) Democrats brought people those things and B) Republicans voted over 50 times to take them away.

      No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.

      by skybluewater on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:23:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  These are very good developments (0+ / 0-)

    Both candidates need to realize that they need to change the electorate to win, and advocating on behalf of government programs that have demonstrated effectiveness for middle class Americans is a way to do that.

    Pryor could still win that race with a traditional mid-term electorate, but why not get into a stronger position and get more Democrats out to vote?  The Ferguson situation has also increased the amount of attention that potential Democratic voters are paying to the news, and events like this become defining.  Voters see elections as a way to define their country.  I think a lot of young people and others offended by the unfairness of what is happening in Ferguson (and other places in the country) will be more motivated to vote and Democrats should position themselves to get those votes.  This is one way to do it.

    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

    by khyber900 on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 04:04:15 PM PDT

  •  Kay Hagan HAD to go on the offensive (0+ / 0-)

    with her support of the ACA.  The Oil Barons from Kansas made it a prime issue, and rather than back off from it, she owned it.  And her campaign now needs to focus on the fact that Thom Tillis and his patrons are keeping over 300,000 North Carolinians from getting insured because of the McCrony Gap caused by the refusal to expand Medicaid.

    I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

    by mojo11 on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 04:13:03 PM PDT

  •  Drop the nuance, hit two or three points (5+ / 0-)

    Pryor's ad (I haven't watched Grimes' yet) hits a couple of real easy points: He got treatment, confident that he wouldn't be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition. That's against the law now. Also, Pryor could submit a claim, knowing his insurance company couldn't drop him for getting sick. That's against the law, too.

    Finish it off with the easily-understood statement that you shouldn't have to fight with your insurance company while you're fighting for your life, and even some of the most stone-brained, low-information voters will "get it."

    Being Democrats, we often fall for the temptation to separate out and examine each and every ingredient in our policy stew. Nope. It tastes good and is good for you. Don't be nuanced, don't be subtle. Make those two points: Can't be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition, and can't have your coverage canceled because you made a claim.

    Hit those two points hard, hit them often, and let the Republicans sputter about "socialized" medicine. They'll be explaining while the Democrats are winning votes.

  •  I Love it When A Plan Comes Together (0+ / 0-)

    Imagine the most profound idea ever conceptualized occupying this space. Now expect exactly the opposite. You'll never be disappointed.

    by Gurnt on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 04:29:43 PM PDT

  •  And they can still campaign on improving the ACA. (0+ / 0-)

    It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But it offers a multitude of improvements and benefits that were not available pre-ACA. They can tout the good parts of the law, all of which are very popular when boiled down to those individual features, without embracing everything and scaring those voters who have been lied to and deceived for so long.

    The GOP, on the other hand, have all gone on record as wanting to repeal the whole thing, including the popular parts. And now, with the living, breathing ACA turing out to be nothing like the terrible socialist monster that it's been promoted to be, campaigning on "Let's make it better," should go over much better than "Let's get rid of it."

    “Humanity's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but humanity's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.” ― Reinhold Niebuhr

    by ktowntennesseedem on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 04:31:02 PM PDT

  •  Hence the Republican Uncle-Toms (0+ / 0-)

    .."mansplaing" how great Voter-ID laws really are.

    Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies, We were roaring drunk on petroleum -Kurt Vonnegut

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 04:31:34 PM PDT

  •  Holy smoke! Maybe 2014 WILL be different than ... (0+ / 0-)

    ... 2010!

    As Gratuitous says, focus on a few results points. The candidates don't need to defend EVERYthing the GOP doesn't like about ACA. But after all, it is the Patient a Protection and Affordable Care Act!

    2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 04:32:15 PM PDT

  •  Naming the ACA as "Obamacare" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    was a Republican ploy to take advantage of presumed anti-Obama sentiment among conservative whites.  Obama let it happen.  He should have dedicated the law to the memory of Senator John Chafee of Rhode Island who first proposed it in Congress.  It should be "Chafeecare."

  •  Easy solution... (0+ / 0-)

    Polling indicates that the American public supports the Affordable Care Act more than they support Obamacare, even though they are the same thing.
    Pryor just needs to answer any direct questions using the term 'Affordable Care Act' along with explaining how the law helps people in Arkansas.

    “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” - Anais Nin

    by legendmn on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 09:44:41 AM PDT

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