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.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."
"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."
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.