Following up on the notion of “fix it later” when it comes to the health care bill, I believe I have made a strong case for why that is less than likely too happen any time soon. So now I want to take a look at how “fix it later” will end up playing out in the main event of politics – the campaign trail.
Welcome to Jamie’s time machine. The year is 2014. President Obama is now entering lame duck status after edging out a victory over Mitt Romney in 2012 and now it’s time for the Democrats who rode the original Obama wave of 2008 into power to go out and try to hold on to their seats without the Obamamentum.
We head on out to the Midwest state of Minnesota, where Senator Al Franken gets to go out and try to serve a second term in Senate. We all remember the extremly hard path he had to his freshman term, the constant court battles and recounts to send a defiant Norm Coleman packing. Now he has to fight to keep his seat and fight without the power of Obama sharing the ticket with him.
One of Senator Franken’s key agenda items is to “fix health care”. He wants to go back and put in all those items that got stripped out before. He feels there is a chance because we finally got lucky and Joe Lieberman was defeated by a real Democrat in 2012. So Senator Franken begins campaigning on “fix it now”.
Enter candidate Pawlenty. The man who was thought to be the presidential nominee for Republicans just two years earlier has realized he misses holding office and now wants to become a U.S. Senator. Pawlenty hears the keystone issue of Senator Franken to fix healthcare now and quickly fires off one of those snarky GOP talking points:
The Senator had a chance to “fix health care” recently and this is what they gave us. How can we trust him to fix something that he worked hard to support?
Now to you or me, the people who love politics and follows it closely we will quickly remember the cold winter of 2009, when a record breaking blizzard blanketed the nation’s capital and the upper house of Congress spent the weekend before Christmas locked in finishing up the health care bill, while every single member of the GOP worked feverishly to oppose the bill, playing their role as the party of no.
That’s you and me, the political junkies, who takes time out to read and write blogs and follow every detail.
But what about the average voter out there? It’s no secret that the American electorate does suffer from a case of short-term memory. In 5 years this cold winter will quickly become a foggy memory and the message candidate Pawlenty is pushing will really start to stick, and that translates into votes.
Now add to this the fact the the current bill will only have just started kicking in. People won’t really be seeing the positive effects of it yet, and the mandates will be kicking in so people who didn’t have to pay for health insurance before now are. Candidate Pawlenty will also remind the voter that it was his opponents vote that forced them to purchase this product from the private industry. Another message the will translate into votes.
After a very hard fought campaign we finally reach election day. We are stuck with another year of Chris Matthews trying to tell us all what we think and believe as we hear that annoying music play over and over again on MSNBComcast. Finally the polls have closed and enough precincts have reported. NBComcast is now ready to predict that Tim Pawlenty will be the next Senator from the state of Minnesota.
The conventional wisdom of Washington is that they never want to look at hypotheticals, but this is a very real one, and one that can be substituted to any number of states and candidates. “Fix it later”, being called “fix it now” in the future, will not play well for Democrats when what they want to fix is the very legislation they championed as being historic and great.
It took nearly 100 years to get where we are today. Slow as molasses doesn’t even begin to describe Washington, so it will be generations before we can actually fix this legislation.