Few are rushing to take credit. WSJ:
“I know this is a tough vote,” President Obama told House Democrats at a March pep rally merely hours before they passed national health care. But he added that he was “actually confident” that “it will end up being the smart thing to do politically because I believe that good policy is good politics.” Apparently not, as even some liberal lobbies are now being forced to concede.
On Thursday, Families USA hosted a “messaging” conference call with Democrats and Democratic allies, admitting that ObamaCare has not in fact become more popular since it passed. Families USA called for a wholesale shift in how Democrats now attempt to sell its handiwork to the public, the central theme being that “The law is not perfect, but it does good things and helps many people. Now we’ll work to improve it.”
That’s according to the power point presentation that accompanied the briefing, as first reported by Ben Smith of Politico.com. “Don’t make grand claims about the law,” another slide added. “Use ‘improve it’ language.” But wait: Wasn’t improvement supposed to be the point of ObamaCare?
The presentation was based on internal polling done by the Herndon Alliance, which was formed in 2005 to lobby for national health care and whose daisy chain of “partners” includes the Center for American Progress, AARP and the unions AFL-CIO, SEIU and AFSCME. That Families USA would endorse this strategic switcheroo is especially notable—make that astonishing—given that a plan like ObamaCare has been the group’s existential goal for two decades. This is like Moses saying that, on second thought and after consulting with his pollster, maybe the land of milk and honey is overrated.
So much, too, for the liberal claim—or delusion—at the time of the ObamaCare votes that failing to pass it would be worse politically. “I think Democrats fully understand they have to pass this legislation,” Families USA president Ron Pollack said in January. “The alternative is an absolute disaster.”
Bill Clinton also importuned reluctant Democrats with the revisionist history that Republicans took the House in 1994 not because of HillaryCare but to punish his party for failing to pass it. In one bit of widely reported advice, Mr. Clinton conceded that ObamaCare was unpopular but told Members to “put the corn where the hogs can get to it.” To translate from the Bubba idiom, he meant that if they explained it simply and clearly, voters would come around.