Three elements stand out in a recent Obama campaign email. The claim is, if you want to be a Republican, you attack Obama, not his policies. That suggests Obama may once again attempt to make the election about him, not the problems with his policies and the economic damage they are doing to America. In that sense, he appears to be personalizing his campaign. But that's not new, or all that's being done here.
They are couching it as a Republican party idea, making current objections to it seem purely political and dishonest. Unfortunately, we have certain Republicans and aligned interests to thank for that.
If you want to be a Republican in America today, please note some basic ground rules:
Criticize everything the President does (even if the idea originated in your own party).
And never, ever, call the Affordable Care Act by its given name.
It's "Obamacare." Get it straight.
Here is an interesting twist many may not have expected, although, in hindsight, it would make sense.
That last rule is fine by us: We like the word -- we like the law even better -- and we're asking folks to go on the record:
If you like health reform that is helping millions of people, say "I like Obamacare" today.
If the other side wants to make this election a referendum on Obamacare, I think we're ready for it.
The facts speak for themselves. Because of reform, we're making sure millions of young people have coverage, eliminating lifetime caps on care, and saving seniors hundreds of dollars a year while strengthening Medicare. We're making sure, once and for all, that being a woman can no longer be considered a "pre-existing condition."
Hundreds of thousands of supporters have already jumped in to say loud and proud that they like that.
For two years, Obamacare has been seen as Obama's great weakness, the single worst policy choice he has made that would doom him in 2012. From early indications, rather than attempt to run away from Obamacare, Team Obama looks as though it is going to embrace it. That's a marketing challenge, as much as it is a political one. In effect, Obama may be beginning an attempt to re-brand Obamacare as a positive.
If his campaign stays this course through the election, Americans will once again have a choice to make. Do they want government run health care and all of its shortcomings, or not? If Obamacare ends up central to, not just GOP attacks, but Obama's own campaign, how citizens feel about Obamacare in November could drive the results of Election 2012.
How about you? Say you like Obamacare:
It will become crucial for Obama and Obamacare opponents to re-state their case. It won't be enough to simpy sit back and consider it to be a pejorative. Obama is a solid campaigner and David Axelrod is a savvy tactician. I doubt they would take this path without some sort of poll-tested insights. Obamacare and Obama opponents can't simply rest from now until November and allow Team Obama to control the conversation.
America may be looking ahead at the Obamacare debate - part 2, with significant implications for America hinging on the result. Hopefully, Republicans are prepared to win the debate on nationalized health care all over again. And regardless of what Republican candidate you support, those challenges will be more complex with Mitt Romney as the nominee because of policies he enacted in Massachusetts. That's just a fact, not a political attack.