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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Was Obamacare the Cause of the Republican Wave?

Was Obamacare the cause of the Republican wave? And, if it was, should it have been? One week later all the talking heads are still ruminating as to what was the cause of the wave that Nancy Pelosi, in her delusional state, doesn't even recognize. Charlie Cook, the election expert, writes thoughtfully in National Journal:

"However, to the extent that elections are about any single issue, far more often than not that issue is the economy. Although some Democrats were content ito recite the improvement in the unemployment rate—which has dropped below 6 percent—and how many consecutive months the economy has created 200,000 or more jobs, in reality this election was not about the unemployment rate per se or what any economist says about how the economy is doing. Rather, it was about how Americans feel the economy is doing. The fact is that most Americans do not believe the economy is doing better. Specifically, they do not think their personal economy has yet recovered."
I totally get this. It doesn't matter how well the economy is doing for those who are comfortable, those who are often mentioned in this blog But the one percent is not the majority of the one-third of eligible voters who actually went to the polls last week. And it is the perception, in a democracy, that matters. The perception among the many is that the economic recovery has not yet affected their lives, lifted them out of the dreadful recession. The Democrats, it must be said, totally ignored their signature issue -- their focus on the middle and working classes -- to briskly run away from President Obama and robotically mention women's rights issues. They fucked their whole shit up. Colorado, which has been trending blue for the past six years, even nicknamed the incumbent Senator "Uterus."

Cook, however, goes further out on a limb in mansplaining the wave, writing, wrongheadedly:

"In mid-summer 2009, polls universally showed that Americans wanted the president, along with the overwhelmingly Democratic Congress, to focus on the economy and job creation. Instead, in its infinite wisdom, Congress chose to focus almost exclusively and obsessively on health care reform. Although this was a worthy objective, the effort would likely have been better spent in a time when people weren't so worried about their economic well-being. This horrific choice, to focus on the Affordable Care Act rather than the economy, besides costing Democrats their House majority—not to mention platoons of Democratic governors and state legislators who would have been handy in drawing the congressional redistricting maps the next year—created scar tissue that remains to this day.
   "Americans resent the policy choices that Obama and congressional Democrats made early on. Voters saw little action that would have turned the economy around and created jobs for many working- and middle-class Americans. Their struggle continues to this day, and it cost Democrats their Senate majority last week.
"Choices have consequences, and elections have consequences."
Slow the fuck down, bro. Listen, I like and respect Charlie Cook, but he is giving us Republican pablum right there. Cook is mistaking perception with motive and, ultimately, with political reality. Cook could argue, correctly, that the perception is that the aloof, intellectual President cared more about his signature domestic political achievement -- the Affordable Care Act -- than he cared about helping the middle and working classes get work, but that is just that -- a perception among those who do not pay close attention to the details.

It is not the reality. The President and the Democrat Congress passed health care mainly because they thought it would help improve the lives of the middle and working classes and, second to that, they believed it would help the economy. Again, one can haggle as to whether or not that actually happened -- those dreamy eyed liberals! -- but to imply that the motives of the President or the Democrat Congress that passed the Affordable Care Act were blind to the plight of the average American is slanderous. Democrats clearly wanted to slow untenable health care costs -- an economic issue -- and bolster the paychecks of workers -- another economic issue.

Further, regarding whether or not the ACA actually helped the economy, the verdict is still out. A recent analysis by the CBO -- nonpartisan -- has recently found that the ACA was not the "job killer" that Republicans made it out to be in their rhetoric.

Political tea-readers must not mistake the perception for the reality of elections else we fail massively as what we do, which is explain, which is of great importance in a Democracy that is at present in the hour of the wolf.

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