How Health Care Will Shape 2010 Elections

GOP runs against Pelosi, Dems find another top issue

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Finally passing after a year of endless slog, the sudden popularity of health care reform shows nothing succeeds like success. But will that surge play out in Democratic victories in the 2010 elections, which everyone agrees will be an incredibly difficult cycle for the party? Or can Republicans seize on anti-health care anger to run against the new law and secure big wins? Here's the speculation.

  • It Might Not Matter At All  Politics Daily's Walter Shapiro shrugs. "The truth is that we do not yet know what issues Americans will be obsessed with as they go to the polls (or forget to vote) in November. It is conceivable that the health care bill will only become a voting issue when the individual mandates and the major expansion of coverage kick in after the 2012 elections."
  • Dems Better Off Debating Financial Reform  Liberal blogger BooMan suggests financial regulatory reform would be the better campaign issue. "Financial reforms should be worked on this spring and summer in the Senate (they have already passed the House) but the debate over final passage should wait until the fall, just before the midterms. The midterms should become a referendum on why the Republicans want to protect Wall Street against accountability and retain too-big-to-fail institutions."
  • GOP Runs Against Reform  The Wall Street Journal says Mitt Romney, of all people, is leading the charge. By making a demand to repeal health care reform the chief policy plank of GOP campaigns, Romney and followers hope to seizer upon anti-health care sentiment. Make the 2010 elections a referendum on health care, they hope, and you can't lose.
  • Dems Run Against GOP Obstruction  Slate's William Saletan foresees the White House strategy: "portraying Republicans who oppose the legislation as opposing all of its benefits. In the Bush administration, this was standard practice." He writes, "This is the risk Republicans have taken by voting unanimously against health care reform. They've bet their whole party against."
  • Can You Campaign on 'Hello No'?  Huffington Post's Robert Borosage doesn't see it. "If Republicans gain significant seats, what will be the mandate? What are they for? You can't tell from this Congress. They've chosen simply to stand in the way."
  • GOP to Run Against Pelosi?  Talking Points Memo's Christina Bellantoni sees an emerging Republican strategy of running against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Though widely credited within the beltway for passing reform, she is unpopular nationally. The Republican National Committee has already raised a million dollars for the explicit purpose of unseating Pelosi.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.