I don’t think Newt Gingrich necessarily speaks for the GOP these days. But he said over the weekend that he’s sure every Republican in 2010 and 2012 will run on a pledge to repeal Health Care Reform. And though he was less definitive, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel said close to the same thing. (See video here) Now given the relative unpopularity of the bill at this moment (which I strongly suspect will change) and its extreme unpopularity among partisan Republicans, that’s not a very surprising statement. What’s interesting to me, though, is that Democrats started saying last week that they plan to run on the same platform — namely, that if you vote for Republicans they’ll repeal Health Care Reform.In a sense, none of this should surprise us. This is pretty much how things should be — you get the main issue of the day and the different parties vote for and against. But it’s pretty seldom that’s the case. It’s not that common that both parties think the same issue is a winning one for them.
I think Dems can win this issue if they pick out the changes that are overwhelming popular — bans on denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, etc. But what has to be worrisome from a Democratic standpoint is the issue Gingrich focuses in on here …
I suspect every Republican running in ’10 and again in ’12 will run on an absolute pledge to repeal this bill. The bill–most of the bill does not go into effect until ’13 or ’14, except on the tax increase side; and therefore, I think there won’t be any great constituency for it. And I think it’ll be a major campaign theme.
How do you develop a constituency for a bill before people have seen it in effect?