So I watched this clip of James Carville furiously spinning the suddenly-more-plausible possibility of Obamacare going down utterly in flames as being the most awesome thing ever for Democrats:
By the way: I should ask Erick how he manages to avoid pointing and laughing at performances like this. I don’t know that I could manage the same self-control.
Anyway, Allahpundit watched the clip, too, and he’s got a legitimate question about whether Carville is correct and that this would be ultimately good for Democrats. The answer is… if it is, not in the sense that everybody is meaning. Except maybe James Carville: he’s clever enough to give out the wrong reasoning in public.
The basic argument being presented here is, as far as I can tell, that killing Obamacare will at least rally the base, bringing them back to the polls just in time to recreate the energy and dedication that got elected Barack Obama in 2008. The President will go out and convince the American people that the Supreme Court slapping down Obamacare means that it’s now the Republicans’ problem to solve. That, and the judicious choosing and pushing of individually popular features of Obamacare will put the Democrats back over the top, and did you catch all the hidden assumptions that I loaded into this paragraph?
Let’s unpack ’em:
- First: note that casual equation of ‘rally the base’ with ‘recreate the 2008 Obama voter demographic.’ Not really justified. Obama won in 2008 because he won independents 52/44 and moderates 60/39. This recent CNN poll suggests the problem then for the Democrats; in that poll independents oppose Obamacare 41/53, moderates only support it 52/41… and liberals only 63/26. This means that ‘rallying the base’ is a prerequisite not for ‘winning the election,’ but rather for ‘avoiding losing the election by a catastrophic it not apocalyptic margin.’
- Second: the President. Convincing people. Or anything. This would be President Obama, right? The joke has long been among the VRWC that one of best things that can be done to further one of our policy positions is to con Barack Obama into making a speech about it: the man has no judgement and no demonstrated ability to learn from his mistakes. And he’s notoriously bad at convincing people to go into a direction that those people, in fact, do not wish to go.
- Third: that because some individual features of Obamacare are popular, arguing that they’ll go away with the larger law will be a powerful driver of votes. Because, after all, noting that stopped the Republicans from gaining 63 seats in the House and 7 in the Senate during the 2010 election cycle – no, wait, in point of fact it did not. Largely because the assertion can be fairly easily counter-argued, and in fact will be: if an individual feature is so popular, let the legislature go back and enact it. The true issue is the incredibly complex and disastrous-to-pernicious interrelated clauses, additions, add-ons, out-and-out bribes, and other detritus that was all swept up in one big messy pile and called Obamacare.
So… if Obamacare going down in flames isn’t good for letting Democrats win, then how will its destruction actually be good for Democrats? Easy: its destruction will wreck the political careers of both Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi (I wish that it’d also wreck Harry Reid’s career, but the Senate’s funny that way. Besides, Reid’s very possibly not running for another term in 2016 anyway). Because when you think about it; Obamacare’s pretty much the only thing that the Democrats have done that they even remotely want to talk about. It’s not that Obamacare is great – it’s actually awful – but everything else that they’ve done has been worse. When and if that goes away, the way that Obamacare goes away will hopefully make it clear in the process that the next Democratic Speaker of the House (and there will be one eventually: just not in 2012) should be someone who is nota San Franciscan liberal who treats the Speakership as if it was a crude, Stone Age club…
But I malign our primitive ancestors with that comparison: they worked with the best that they had. It’s too frightening to even think that, when it comes to Democrats, so did Nancy Pelosi.
Moe Lane (crosspost)