Monday, June 24, 2013

Elsewhere: ACA/Obamacare, Boehner, more

Two new columns and a blog post I liked, plus some other stuff:

My Salon column this week was another argument that John Boehner is doing a pretty good job, considering the circumstances.

At TAP, I predict the new rallying cry: "keep your Obamacare away from my Affordable Care Act!" -- or, in other words, Obamacare stays unpopular even if the ACA is successful and therefore untouchable.

And I didn't go full-blown cranky, but I got annoyed at something on Friday and wrote about how no one is ever "really running" Washington.

Others at the Post last week:

What the Farm Bill says about immigration in the House

How to explain Obama’s approval ratings? Events, not polarization

‘Regular order’ on immigration suffers another blow

The need to feed The Crazy will cost the GOP

Hillary! Hillary? Hillary!?!


  1. At this point, JB, I don't know about the future of the term "Obamacare." It could work out as you say, of course. But then again, it would seem awfully hard to continue the "Obamacare" stuff very much longer -- Obama will be out of office, after all, in a little over three years. It will gradually become rather silly to keep talking about Obamacare, and if things work as you envision, the whole issue will just kind of fade. It might take another ten years or so, of course, after Obama leaves. But, speaking as a professional historian/analyst, that is so small in historical terms as to be nearly negligible. Someone writing a history of American social policy in the early twenty-first century would probably content themselves with saying that the controversy was spoken about in political speeches for a brief period and then was displaced by more current issues. "Government Health Care" may be a bugaboo, still, as it is so vague it can mean anything. But "Obamacare" as a term? I don't know. Maybe if the Medicaid expansion controversy drags on another generation. Anything less than that and Obamacare/ACA will likely join the Tonkin Gulf Resolution and Taft-Hartley as one of those things you use to make your freshmens' life miserable. Actually the Tonkin Gulf Resolution may be a good example. Once it was a symbol of an era (albeit following different trajectory than the ACA as it only became notorious years after passing), a term that invoked passions that tore apart friendships and re-arranged political alignments. Twenty years later only partisans still cared, and most everybody else sighed and rolled their eyes. Ten years after that only old people cared. Now, nobody cares.

  2. I still don't buy the events vs. polarization argument. I still see Obama and the latter part of Dubya's presidency as the most polarizing and I think the outcomes of each major election has only strengthened that hypothesis. Maybe they are part and parcel of the same thing, but I think most people who voted for Obama aren't particularly convinced he's doing a bad job and most people who didn't will never be convinced that he's done anything good. And I don't see that changing.

    The thing is if Chris Christie wins the presidency or some other centrist Republican, I can see polarization dissipating, but if a centrist Democrat (Hillary Clinton) wins, we'll see a hardening line of polarization.

    1. Would a centrist GOP President dispel polarization, that is to say the kind of dysfunctional polarization that just about everyone notices and decries? That depends on how GOP actors and the GOP base would react to such a President, and even more as to whether such a President were generally a success at providing peace and prosperity and avoiding both domestic and foreign quagmires, and thus how popular such a President was.

      I don't know. I have mused on another thread about a counterfactual second term from GHW Bush. But I don't know that powerful segments of the GOP base would cooperate well with a moderate Republican administration (I don't know that the wouldn't either, but I think it is open to question). I also don't know how well GOP actors would cooperate (remember Jimmy Carter and his failure to unite the Democrats). Finally, I don't know if one single successful Presidency would be enough to undo the damage. It's hard to see a moderate GOP administration being more successful than Eisenhower, and Eisenhower didn't have nearly the mess to deal with that say, a Christie would have, yet even Eisenhower was followed by Goldwater and Nixon.

      I just don't know. You may be right, Jamie, but I just don't know.

  3. While your arguments about how "Obamacare" will be perceived in the future sound quite plausible, I think you may be overstating the extent to which Obamacare's lack of popularity comes from the right. There have been a number of polls ever since the bill was passed showing that a significant portion of the opposition consists of people who feel the law does not go far enough. Those who oppose the law due to fear of death panels, government takeover, and so on are in fact in the minority. That doesn't necessarily contradict your theory that the law will be invisible to most of its beneficiaries, but I think your column attributes to the Limbaugh/Fox crowd more influence on the general public than is actually the case.


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