Saletan sees some signs:
His political advisers are hinting at a more aggressive strategy: portraying Republicans who oppose the legislation as opposing all of its benefits. In the Bush administration, this was standard practice.
Any Democrat who resisted any component of a bill was accused of opposing the bill's objective. If you complained about labor provisions of the bill to establish a federal department of homeland security, Republicans said you were against homeland security. If you objected to part of the "Patriot Act," they said you were unpatriotic. If you criticized Bush's execution of the Iraq war, they said you were undermining our troops.
Obama has avoided this scorched-earth style of politics. But his advisers seem ready to try it. "Let them tell a child with a pre-existing condition, 'We don't think you should be covered,' " David Axelrod said of Republicans last night...
This is the risk Republicans have taken by voting unanimously against health care reform. They've bet their whole party against it. If the public hates the program, they'll be rewarded at the polls. But if the public likes it, they're in trouble. And if the public fears it might be taken away, they could suffer a beating, as they did in 1996 when voters feared cuts in Medicare.
I don't think this is "Rovian" by the way. It's called contrast and compare. If the bill becomes more popular, what people will remember is that the GOP did all they could to kill it, and every tea-party meltdown will be in the minds of voters.
Obama's genius is not attacking his opposition head-first. It is patiently assisting its self-destruction. First Clinton; then McCain; then Palin; now the GOP as a whole.
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