If you enjoyed the three-year Republican campaign to undermine Obamacare, you'll love the next 12 months. A document obtained by The New York Times outlines House Republicans' upcoming attacks on the law, hoping to parlay a rocky month for the law into a permanent political advantage. Wars start from disputes on principle. But the battles are pure, unflinching mechanics.
The cover of next week's Time magazine makes clear the status of the debate, probably inadvertently. The "broken promise" of Obamacare: What it means for this presidency. Under that, smaller: What it means for your health care. Granted, political machinations are more interesting than the intricacies of health law, but that ordering certainly reflects the thinking on Capitol Hill.
The Times' report on the House Republican plan suggests that the party plans to continue its existing strategy of placing anti-Obamacare anecdotes in rhetorical context through media outreach and congressional pressure. "The idea," the paper reports, "is to gather stories of people affected by the health care law … and use them to open a line of attack, keep it going until it enters the public discourse and forces a response, then quickly pivot to the next topic." It links to the talking points issued by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor that outline the plan — a document, amusingly enough, that uses the "Gotham" typeface made famous in Obama's 2008 campaign.
The goal, according to [Republican caucus chair Kathy] McMorris Rodgers, is to use all the “Republican voices we have in the House, the media markets in all the districts we represent, to take our message all over the country.”
“It penetrates,” she said. “It’s powerful.”
The Cantor memo also outlines a series of YouTube videos and "viral" images for members to share like that at left; a sidebar on the first page offers a helpful hashtag for members to use in their communications. (How successful this will be isn't clear. Illinois Rep. John Shimkus worried that he was "not that hip" when asked to participate in a Google hangout.) It's part and parcel with the broader plan: get clever things in front of people, gather their anti-Obamacare stories, use those stories to hammer the president and the Democrats.