Affordable Care Act — June 9, 2015 at 10:31 am

One Republican lying is a joke, all Republicans lying is a strategy


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We got a preview of the clusterfuganonsense that our politics will descend to if the Supreme Court decides to deny 6.5 million Americans tax credits to buy health insurance on Monday.

After President Obama, in his role as President Obvious, said the Supreme Court shouldn’t have even taken King v. Burwell, Senator John Thune sent out a tweet that was widely mocked but geniunely reflects the GOP’s strategy to place the blame for their intentional gutting of Obamacare on Obama.

When one Republican lies, it’s a joke. But when all Republicans get on the same page and start repeating the same lie, it can be devastatingly effective.

Conservative commitment to calling the Stimulus “the failed Stimulus” helped brand the most successful government intervention in the economy since the New Deal as a disaster even though nearly all economists agree it reduced unemployment and the clean energy revolution sparked by the bill — along with some effective activism by Beyond Coal, as Politico‘s Mike Grunwald explains — has led to more Americans working in the solar industry than in coal. Anti-stimulus propaganda was so effective that Democrats never even mention the bill that helped set us on a path to the best job creation of the century.

Republicans have also effectively smeared Obamacare with absurdly circular arguments and horror stories that have proven to be more stories than horror. Republicans hate Obamacare so much that they nominated the guy who invented it to destroy it? The fact that the ACA is really a conservative plan is betrayed whenever Republicans offer a replacement plan that resembles Obamacare.

The law is still not popular — but not for reasons conservatives would like you to believe.

Only 37 percent think it’s too liberal. Another 15 percent think it isn’t comprehensive enough, which combined with the 41 percent who like it gives us a majority that favor reform. You can argue that Americans are attached to the law and reject attempts to gut it now that it’s helped insure 16 million Americans while cutting trillions from our estimated health costs. And polls show that people will want Congress to fix it with a simple one sentence bill.

Republicans won’t do that, as The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent keeps explaining. They’re planning on passing a “fix” that breaks the law and then blaming Obama for vetoing it. There’s no question this will be their path because any fix that restores the law is an admission that the law is working. That’s an admission Republicans can never make given that the 37 percent that hate the law almost all vote in Republican primaries.

Of course, the Republican blame game doesn’t always work.

When Ted Cruz forced a government shutdown, he insisted that President Obama shut down the government. Most of his Republican colleagues joined him in singing that chorus — but there wasn’t complete message discipline so the lie broke down. Cruz still insists it’s true to this day the Obama suddenly decided to shut down the government and when he does this in front of adults who don’t think Obama is a secret Muslim atheist, people laugh.

Convincing Americans that Obama doesn’t want you to have Obamacare will not be easy.

But Republican will try, using the superior organization and messaging that makes them particularly effective in swaying the most reliable voters. And we won’t be laughing if it works and people die as a result.