Running On And Against Health Care

Axelrod says Democrats will run on health care reform. I think they'll do very well on it, and have said so for a while now - especially given how easy it will be to point to Republicans and say: they did nothing. "We helped that woman with MS to get an insurance package that keeps her functioning!" Think of those drug ads, showing how the afflicted turn their lives around; now think of them as Democratic ads contrasting the survival of the sick with screaming tea-partiers or mockers of those with Parkinson's. George Packer outlines Newt's strategy:

Yesterday Newt Gingrich outlined the Republican strategy going forward, saying that the Democrats “will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for forty years” by signing civil rights into law. Leave aside the deep cynicism of this view of racial equality: Gingrich was expressing the Republican belief that health-care reform will be so unpopular that it will reduce the Democrats to minority status for two generations.

(In the House debate, Republican after Republican excoriated the Democrats for defying the will of the American peopleas if the elections of 2006 and 2008 were inconsequential compared to a couple of last fall’s Rasmussen polls on health care.)

But Gingrich’s analysis is based on a flawed analogy. Civil rights brought an oppressed minority of Americans closer to equality, andas Johnson knewwas so hated across the South that it was bound to cost the Democrats the region. Health-care reform, if it does what its supporters claim, will humanize a system in which the vast majority of Americans feel trapped.

If this is how the GOP reacts - rather than proposing a reform package for the bill - they will be jumping off yet another electoral cliff.