Oct. 2nd, 2013

maxomai: dog (dog)
I'm not going to bother with the usual partisan cheerleading that's circulating these days - you can find plenty of that on DailyKos, The Daily Show, Fox News, MSNBC, and so on. Today, I'm going to discuss the dynamics and metapolitics of the shutdown, and what they tell us about how this will turn out.

Long story short, the Republicans are going to lose this fight. They know it. Their job isn't to get rid of Obamacare, but to put up such a fight that they can turn to their constituents, and to the American public, and say to them, "we tried our damnedest to stop it."

The dynamics of this are relatively simple. The House is controlled by the Republicans; of those, most are moderate Republicans, with a smattering of Tea Party conservatives. Almost all of them think that Obamacare is going to be a huge disaster - this point may as well be axiomatic, but look here for an example of this thinking. They're figuring that once the voters get a taste of Obamacare, they'll respond by punishing the Democrats for many elections to come. The shutdown is the GOP's attempt to maximize the potential gains from that voter backlash. If the gains are great enough, they'll be able to repeal Obamacare in 2017, and while this will outrage Democrats and the poor, independent voters will thank them.

The Senate and the White House are controlled by Democrats. Almost all of them think that Obamacare is going to be a huge success - again, this point may as well be axiomatic, but look here for an example of this thinking. They're figuring that once the voters get a taste of Obamacare, it will demolish the GOP's "government is bad" talking points, and the voters will consequently award Democrats. They figure, wrongly, that the Republicans also see the potential for Obamacare to destroy their talking points, and that the House is therefore motivated to stop Obamacare no matter what. The Democrats are therefore in no mood to give the Republicans so much as an inch on Obamacare.

The logic of the Republican position demands a solid effort; the logic of the Democratic position demands victory. In the end, there's no contradiction, and both will get what they want. It's just a matter of how long the GOP needs to be seen as having done their best - and that may take weeks. (It should be noted that the Tea Party caucus, all thirty of them, is hellbent on actually repealing or delaying Obamacare, not just on putting on a good show for the voters. The dynamics of the shutdown suggests that John Boehner will throw them under the bus eventually. There are also a smattering of blue dog Democrats left in Congress who might be willing to give up on Obamacare, but not enough of them to matter, and none are in the Senate.)

As for the voters, it's hard to say how they will judge Obamacare. The law benefits a hell of a lot of people, including anyone with a pre-existing condition, anyone too broke or unemployed to afford insurance before, and anyone whose premiums, as a result of the law, go down or stay the same. (In my case, my health premiums are the same this year as they were last year, which is a first for me.) The law also hurts a lot of people, including anyone whose premiums have gone up a lot (which happened in a number of red states), anyone whose employer doesn't offer family coverage (which means that their family has to buy from the exchange and isn't eligible for subsidies), and anyone whose employer cuts down on hours in order to avoid paying a fine for not insuring their employees.

Speaking personally, my overall impression of the program has been very positive, despite severe technical issues with the exchange web sites. My own premiums have stayed steady. I also tend to agree that subsidized insurance will encourage more people to take risks and start small or start-up businesses. Most of all, a lot of people I care about are broke or have pre-existing conditions (such as prior experiences with cancer, mental health issues, heart issues, or diabetes) that prevented them from buying insurance before, and now they'll be able to buy insurance. As far as I'm concerned, that's an unqualified good, and the GOP doesn't have an answer as to how they'll replace it. As such, I'm cautiously optimistic that Obamacare will be a net boon. That doesn't necessarily mean that the GOP are shooting themselves in the foot, but it does mean that they're going to have a hard time selling their assumptions.
maxomai: dog (dog)
maxomai: dog (dog)
Quinnipiac University is polling the 2016 Presidential race (yes, yes, I know).

Clinton (D) 49
Christie (R) 36

Clinton (D) 54
Cruz (R) 31

Clinton (D) 53
Paul (R) 36

N=1497
MOE=2.5

Among voters who are Democratic or lean Democratic:
Clinton 61
Biden 11
Warren 7
Cuomo 2
Warner 1

If she's thinking about running (and recent press releases indicate that she is), these numbers should encourage her to go for it. There's no guarantee that these numbers will last. Numbers like this can barely be counted on to last three weeks, let alone three years. But they demonstrate a depth of base support that simply wasn't there for her in 2008, when Obama and Edwards were credible, more progressive alternatives.

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