Now that we are in the midst of the final sprint of election season 2010, the issues that will decide the election are becoming clearer by the day. It’s about the economy and jobs. It’s about taxes.
It should also be about healthcare reform.
However, a recent Hotline poll showed Republican campaign insiders downplaying ObamaCare as an issue. We understand why the Republican consultants are doing this-they think the issue is too controversial and not a slam dunk winner. These are, however, the same “experts” who crowed that PA-12 was a shoe-in and HI-01 unwinnable.
But they are wrong on the merits – healthcare is the top intensity issue among Independents, as survey by Doug Schoen for Independent Women's Voice (IWV) proved. 48% of Independents replied that even if they agreed with a candidate on everything else, if they disagree with them on this issue, they won’t vote for them. Best of all, they DO disagree with ObamaCare and the gross overreach of government it mandates. But why are Republicans not making this more of an issue? They should be.
More importantly, not making dismantling and defunding ObamaCare an issue this fall is terribly shortsighted. Conservatives in Congress need to come out of the election with a mandate and this is one of the issues that will give them just that. It is critical. Unfortunately, consultants and party operatives whose time horizon goes no further than 30 odd days don’t make the best long term strategic decisions.
We need to do three things in the next month:
1) make ObamaCare more of an issue where it should be (because it’s an issue we absolutely win),
2) hold politicians accountable (including those who didn’t vote for ObamaCare but are doing nothing to undo it and are currently getting a free pass), and
3) create a mandate for conservatives in the next Congress to do whatever they can towards repealing and or defunding ObamaCare.
We can accomplish all three things with the new Repeal Pledge which is a project of Independent Women’s Voice, in conjunction with American Majority Action. The Repeal Pledge is qualitatively different than the other health care pledges out there:
- It creates accountability on a comprehensive spectrum of possible action. It doesn’t just apply to defunding or repeal, but to all the relevant incremental procedural steps, including discharge petitions, that will help defund and de-authorize, whether implemented in whole or in part, all of ObamaCare.
- It applies NOW to those who are currently able to sidestep the issue, and helps challengers define where they stand. It allows incumbents, and importantly challengers, to highlight differences where the issue has been hard to frame. In short it makes this an issue where it should be but isn’t.
- It’s integrated. By linking the People’s Promise to the specific candidate pledge, it has the potential to create a mandate for the next term, and gives the pledge teeth to help with signatures now and adherence later.
This pledge takes a large subject that is hard to explain succinctly and reduces it to a binary choice, a yes/no decision, which ultimately becomes a values-marker for larger beliefs about the appropriate role of government and personal freedom.
Dozens of Members of Congress as well as candidates have already signed the Repeal Pledge. Our goal is to get dozens more. So get your friends engaged on this issue. Contact your Member of Congress and the candidate running against the incumbent and ask them to sign it today.
Heather Higgins is President and CEO of Independent Women's Voice and Drew Ryun is President of American Majority Action.