Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Limits of Obamascare and the Douchebag Strategy

As I've been saying since Republicans made their anti-Obama "strategy" obvious last year, it's all for nothing.  All they were going to be able to achieve with it is to get the people who already hate Obama to continue to hate Obama, while losing any chance of winning over anyone else.  Obama and Democratic fortunes rested almost entirely on the economy, and as much as Republicans might have been able to implement a strategy to win new converts, they threw that right out the window when they decided to reflexively attack everything Obama did.

But that's not to say that Republicans wouldn't have ANY impact on Obama's future, as they could certainly undermine his plans in order to make him less effective.  Sure, they could have more easily done that with bi-partisan negotiating, but they could still have an impact even by attacking everything from the outside. 

And we saw a lot of that with the healthcare debate.  By attacking Obama's healthcare plan, it made it harder for him to get what we needed, and we ended up with an imperfect bill.  But...once the bill passed, it was time to move on.  Especially as their best trick was to attack things that weren't in the bill, which got a lot harder once there was a real bill to talk about.  If anything, it was the unknown that scared most voters, with only diehard Republicans hating the actual bill. 

Yet Republicans once again believed their own hype and imagined they could continue to use "Obamacare" to attack Democrats, even if it meant attacking a bill that would help people and contained lots of popular policies that were already being enacted.

Even Republicans Don't Care

And via Carpetbagger, it looks like we've got some results on this, at least as far as Republican Attorney Generals trying to score points with Republicans.  The end result: Not much.  Not that it can be argued that the anti-Obamacare position hurt these AG's, but it doesn't seem to have done anything.  And remember, these were Republican primaries, yet there wasn't any pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.  General Election results could be a negative, assuming voters even remember.

And that's just not good enough in politics.  You really shouldn't take a high profile stance on an issue unless there's a good chance you can score real points with it.  And had "Obamacare" been filled with Death Panels and other assorted evil-doing, that would have been possible.  But as it was, Republicans were stuck trying to repeal good policies that people support, and you really can't make something your key issue if you can't mention any of the actual details you're attacking.

But Republicans are too dumb to have thought this through.  Their position is to attack Obama as much as possible, and as far as denying him victories, it's worked; though with a huge cost (they currently have no policies or mandate of any kind, beyond denying Obama victories, and are less popular than Democrats).  But once he has his victory, it's time to move on. 

Even among Republicans, they list healthcare reform in their litany of Obama abuses, but they're far more concerned with stopping the next Obama abuse; and aren't going to reward people for repealing the policy battles they already lost.  And in a general election, the results could only get worse.

But of course, their "strategy" had little to do with politics at all.  The reality is that these people opposed everything Obama did because it was the easiest thing for them to do, as it required no actual thinking and was what Limbaugh and the other talking heads told them to do.  Just because your son teases your daughter all the time doesn't necessarily mean he's got some strategy to defeat her.  He might just be a douchebag.

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