I wouldn't be surprised if that produces a backlash. It's one thing to campaign against the bill — it might even be a winning strategy among right and center-right voters — but the Drudge/Fox/Rush axis is going to force conservative candidates into ever shriller and more baroque denunciations (see, for example, Mitt Romney claiming that "President Obama has betrayed his oath to the nation"), and that might not wear so well even out in the fabled heartland. That's especially true when it turns out that the fabric of the nation doesn't collapse the way it was supposed to on the day after the bill was signed.See also David (my brother) Bernstein. Ezra Klein, however, has a more benign view of what the Republicans are saying this week:
I'd take the talk of constitutional challenges and the talk of repeal as the necessary end point for the GOP in this debate. You can't spend a year calling something a dire threat to American freedom and then shrug your shoulders once it's passed. You at least need to assure your allies that you believed what you were saying all along. But as the days and months and years go on, it's going to be very difficult to keep up that intensity.I can see it working out either way. Perhaps the repeal rhetoric will fade, perhaps it won't. Either way, I'll stick with my more confident expectation, which is that Republicans will run against the health care system, blaming everything that goes wrong with anybody's health care or insurance on big bad Obamacare, just as they blamed the economy on Obama as soon as he was sworn in to office.
I'll give Drum the last word:
Generally speaking, the D/F/R axis isn't that visible outside its direct audience. That's a good thing for Republicans since the stuff they spout really doesn't go over well with anyone outside the true believer base. But if Republican candidates feel like they have to toe the axis line, suddenly it's going to be a lot more visible — and it might turn off a lot of people. We'll see.