The following is an excerpt from FRANK CANNON and JEFFREY BELL | Jul 2, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 40 | TheWeeklyStandard.com |
If you’re wondering how President Obama plans to get reelected in 2012—and why he might succeed—look back not to 2008 but to his successful campaign to win congressional passage of Obamacare during 2009 and early 2010.
Obamacare generated popular doubts from the beginning, and fairly early in the congressional debate voters arrived at a net-negative view. This never changed to this day, more than two years after final approval of the legislation in March 2010. Yet Team Obama devised and executed a plan that resulted in a historic victory that had eluded earlier Democratic presidents.
It’s often assumed that this was achieved by simple fact of the overwhelmingly Democratic makeup of the 111th Congress elected with Barack Obama in 2008. While it is true this predominance turned out to be a precondition of victory, the politically explosive rise of the Tea Party beginning in early 2009 and skepticism even from some Democratic-leaning constituencies made passage of Obamacare far from inevitable.
Team Obama learned early on that the president’s many speeches on the subject would have zero impact on voters’ view of his plan. Instead the administration focused on mobilizing the left power base (labor, the social left, AARP, and Hollywood) and moving through special interests (hospitals, insurance companies, Fortune 500) to assemble, piece by piece, an economic and lobbying juggernaut.
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