Last night’s Almanac roundtable featured a trio of campus-based idiots. Chief among the idiots was David Schultz. Early in the discussion, Eric Eskola asked St. Olaf’s Prof. Hofrening if the ruling would rally the GOP base. Eskola also asked if Thursday’s ruling turned the election into a referendum on the ACA. Here’s Prof. Hofrenning’s response:

Well, I think that’s the big question. To what degree will this rally the base. The question is ‘what will this decision do to the conservative movement today’? Clearly, it will rally some TEA Partiers but I think we have to keep a close watch on the intensity of that rally.

Prof. Hofrenning, this ruling didn’t rally just the TEA Party wing of the GOP. It rallied independents. It rallied ‘establishment’ Republicans, too. Joe Trippi got it right on Hannity the other night when he said “This ruling has the Democrat base breathing a sigh of relief. It has the Republican base breathing fire.”

After that exchange, Mary Lahammer asked Kathryn Pearson what the ramifications of the ruling would be on congressional races. Here’s Prof. Pearson’s response:

Well, the congressional elections of 2012, each member will be fighting for his or her own seat and we’re already seeing some glimpses of this. Democrats not going to the Democratic National Convention, they’re looking out for themselves first. We’ll see the same thing from Republicans as well.

But Republicans are saying ‘Just give us a Republican president and a Republican congress’ but it isn’t that easy. One of the dangers of that message is that it moves away from the economy because the economy is the #1 issue in the election.

Another of the problems is that they aren’t offering an alternative plan. So if you look at many of the individual items, they’re quite popular

First, this will be another wave election. This won’t end well for Democrats. The ACA ruling just intensifies the disgust for the ACA amongst TEA Party activists, independents and establishment Republicans.

Second, while we see proof that Democrats aren’t attending the Democratic National Convention, there’s no proof that Republican legislators and candidates will stay away from Tampa.

That’s because Republicans, while many of us aren’t thrilled with Mitt, won’t treat him like toxic waste. Democrats like Joe Manchin and Claire McCaskill are treating President Obama like toxic waste. Anyone who didn’t notice that shouldn’t be a political science teacher at a major university.

Third, while it’s true that the economy, specifically creating jobs and growing the economy, is a high priority, it’s equally true that the ACA has jumped up to being Issue 1A to the economy’s status as Issue 1.

I hope Mitt and congressional Republicans put out an alternative plan. That said, I don’t think it’s that important to offer an alternative plan at this point. Most people’s first priority after Thursday’s ruling is ridding ourselves of the ACA albatross.

Later, Mary Lahammer said that the GOP base “was lukewarm about Romney”, to which Schultz replied “That’s exactly the point is whether this translates into support for Mitt Romney in terms of they’ll really get behind him.”

Schultz then asked if Republicans would get behind the man who provided the model for the ACA:

This becomes a problem for Romney. How does he play this issue and I’m not sure he has alot of maneuver room on this one.

First, the fact that Mitt raised $5,000,000 in the 36 hours after the ruling should be more than an indicator to these geniuses that the base, and many independents, are steadfastly behind Mitt, especially since most of these contributions a) came through the internet and b) were small-dollar amount contributions.

Second, Mitt Romney has said repeatedly that he’ll repeal the ACA. Yesterday, Sen. Mitch McConnell said that he’d “repeal Obamacare” if he was the majority leader and Mitt was President.

He didn’t say that repeal would be a priority. Mitch didn’t say that they’d work on it. Mitch McConnell said that they’d repeal it.

Think of this as Mitt Romney’s and Mitch McConnell’s equivalent of Bush 41’s Read my lips moment. If they don’t repeal the ACA, history will record them as political failures. Their legacies will be tarnished.

A strong majority of the American people want the ACA repealed. That hasn’t changed since President Obama signed the bill into law. It’s consistently been that 55% of the people want the bill repealed. It’s consistently been that 40% of the people want it kept in place.

This will affect women’s reaction to the Obama administration. The townhall meetings of August, 2009 featured women who said that they’d never paid attention to politics before. That was the unofficial ‘birthplace’ of Sarah Palin’s Momma Grizzlies.

Health care reform awakened a sleeping giant. Most of the people in that sleeping giant were women that worried government-run health care would cost more while delivering lower quality care, which it will do.

Later in the roundtable, these ‘geniuses’ said that President Obama had to do a better job defending the ACA. That’s impossible. It’s impossible to defend the indefensible. It’s impossible to defend the 21-tax salute Congress and President Obama gave to the American people. It’s impossible to defend the massive growth in the federal government.

The problem isn’t that President Obama hasn’t done a good job selling the ACA. It’s that the ACA is a crappy product that a) the American people have rejected, b) was shoved down America’s throat despite the many monstrous TEA Party rallies and c) overpromises and underdelivers.

People will lose their health care plan because employers will drop people and pay the fine rather than continue covering their employees. Health insurance premiums will continue rising faster than the rate of inflation.

The first 50 hours after the ACA ruling shows that the intense opposition to the ACA hasn’t diminished since August, 2009. That’s a major problem for President Obama, Democrats running for re-election to the Senate and for House Democrats.

Prior to Thursday’s ruling, I’d said that I was confident Mitt Romney would defeat President Obama, partly because Democrats aren’t thrilled with him. Remember the convicted felon getting 42% of the vote in West Virginia? I do. Remember Undecided getting 41% of the vote in Kentucky? I certainly do.

Each election has 2 tracks in terms of polling. Daily tracking polls will reflect the blips covered during the news cycle. The weekly polling, however, shows the undercurrent that determines elections. People are frightened about the economy, the exploding national debt and dealing with the ACA.

That’s what these political science professors missed entirely. They don’t have a clue about what’s happening this election.

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10 Responses to “Almanac’s embarassing roundtable”

  • Terry Stone says:

    Any survey asking about “the good parts” of the ACA needs to also ask, “How much are you willing to pay to provide the features you like to someone else?”

  • eric z says:

    That decision is how many days old now?

    There are how many days until the general election?

    And yes, some GOP regulars do face a primary, where this Romneycare issue will not come up.

    In terms of rallying a base, do not overlook Citizens United, as one thing that stands out as disdained boneheadedness, almost beyond believability.

    Yes, current talk is the GOP pundit-factory believes it can make something of this. But really, that actually only an admission they know they have been so obstructionist (not merely negligent but willfully obstructionist) on job relief that they want to distract from jobs as the real issue – where their only answer to anything is “Give more tax cuts to the wealthy.”

    You believe that will play? Or that Karl Rove’s superpac and Rumert’s propaganda mill can come up with a sufficient shell game patter to distract all the folks feeling economic hurt from tracking the pea?

    Good luck, to you and Karl. It will fail, but give it a try, along with Andy Parrish doing his bigotry stint.

    It’s the economy, and the GOP’s constant will to impede any meaningful government action to help folks out of the hole Bush dug them is what will be seen as fact.

    Unless your guys do one hell of a good propaganda job, (you have the money for it – more than enough), you lose.

    So, will money work magic?

    We’ll see, eh? But, really, tax cuts for the rich …

  • Gary Gross says:

    Eric, I could argue that tax cuts for the rich isn’t nearly as offensive as tax increases for the middle class but I won’t. I’ll just repeat the facts. President Obama signed into law a lengthy list of massive middle class tax increases.

    I’ll also highlight the fact that the ruling that the federal government can’t punish states for not expanding their Medicaid rolls is the biggest ruling of the whole thing. That means this administration’s shell game is about to get exposed. The “deficit-neutral” spin wasn’t possible if the 30,000,000 extra people getting health insurance wasn’t getting paid for by the states.

    Now that states can say no to expanded Medicaid, they will.

    But really, that actually only an admission they know they have been so obstructionist (not merely negligent but willfully obstructionist) on job relief that they want to distract from jobs as the real issue

    Eric, your ignorance is stunning. Republicans have passed over 2 dozen bills in the House that Harry Reid refuses to even acknowledge. Considering the fact that Reid’s Senate has broken the law 3 years running in not passing a budget blueprint, there’s only one direction that the finger can be pointed. I’d triple-dog dare you to explain how not doing your legal duty of passing a budget blueprint isn’t obstructionism in the first degree.

    Second, your BS about Republicans giving “tax cuts for the wealthy” is sickening. Republicans are poised to offer true tax reform. Reform patterned after the TEFRA deal struck between Dan Rostenkowski & Ronald Reagan, which featured lower marginal rates & fewer corporate welfare provisions. If you’d paid attention to reality rather than buy the dishonest DFL’s BS, you’d know that.

    Apparently, that’s asking too much.

  • Chad Q says:

    Great response to Eric Z’s blathering. People like Eric couldn’t give a rats behind about what the real truth is about ACA or the economy so long as their message of disinformation and smoke screening for the democrats is accomplished.

  • IndyJones says:

    There is an article at American Conservative by Leo Lembeck that pretty much makes government healthcare irrelevant. Medicare is unfunded by 84 trillion dollars. Thats 300,000 dollars for every man, woman, and child. Now you can mandate any damn thing you want but unless you are on a steady diet of utopiates there is no way to consider this program survivable. None. Zero chance. If they really buckle down there is a small chance they can save a part of social security if its reformed. And if its not reformed soon it too will go under the bus.

  • walter hanson says:


    If you want to call Citizens United boneheaded keep in mind there is this thing called the first amendment that Congress couldn’t make a law restricting speech. That’s why the same day that Obamacare was upheld the court struck down a law that said you didn’t have the right to say you’re a veteran who won an award if you haven’t.

    Thanks to this bonehead ruling which you like Congress can say you have to drive a certain car and enforce it by charging a tax on cars which they don’t like.

    By the way Eric this ruling only took place because Roberts called it a tax. Why don’t you and Obama call it a tax since it’s a tax.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  • Bob J. says:

    “That’s because Republicans, while many of us aren’t thrilled with Mitt, won’t treat him like toxic waste.”

    For the first time in my adult life, I will watch no part of the Republican National Convention this year. A Republican Party controlled by Romney will not stand for conservative values. It is grossly unfortunate that he is the main alternative to Obama, even if in name only.

    However, it’s said that you get the government you deserve, and if it’s Romney we deserve, then we’ve fallen to the point where we can no longer get up. What a shame.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Bob, I don’t give a shit if you watch the convention. I just care that you’ll vote for the only presidential candidate that’ll repeal the ACA.

  • IndyJones says:

    The house and senate are the key to repeal or to defunding that albatross. I’m just not into Romney either.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Without the president signing the repeal law, it’s getting implemented. Lord knows I wasn’t a fan of Romney’s but I’ll vote for him over implementing the ACA & I’ll do it without hesitation.

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