By Cheri Jacobus - 08/05/10 10:16 PM EDT
Tuesday’s primaries brought a few surprises. But the voter mandate in Missouri stands out as the One Really Big Thing that might define this fall’s elections.
Seventy-one percent of Missouri voters supported a ballot measure preventing the federal government from forcing anyone to buy health insurance, as dictated by the healthcare law signed by President Obama in March. Missourians aren’t going to stand for the federal government forcing them to purchase health insurance or penalize them if they don’t. In fact, as a result of ObamaCare, Americans seem poised to vote lawmakers out of office who voted for the bill. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) claims she now gets the message, but lucky for her, she is not up for reelection until 2012. Many of her Democratic colleagues are not as fortunate and find themselves in the crosshairs of voter anger over Obama’s healthcare reform folly.
Republicans took the House in the ’94 midterm elections for the first time in 40 years, due in no small part to the Clintons’ attempt to force government-run healthcare on the nation.
In 2010, it’s deja vu all over again.
After the Clinton debacle in the ’90s, the cavalcade of animated town hall meetings on ObamaCare over the past year and polls indicating anemic support, the message could not have been more clear — yet it was ignored by the White House and Democratic congressional leaders. It’s a bit of a head-scratcher why Obama forced Democrats in Congress to walk the plank and vote for the bill when it was evident he’d not made the sale to voters. Equally mystifying is how Obama failed to foresee the blowback and believed this would fade to gray by the midterms. Perhaps the president knew full well how ObamaCare would decimate his party, but simply didn’t care.
Last summer, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) were frantic to pass ObamaCare before members went home for recess and got an earful from constituents. When Congress didn’t fall into line, Reid and Pelosi again panicked and tried to ram it through before members went home for the holidays to get yet another earful from their constituents. Facing an Easter/Passover break and an election looming in less than eight months, they finally put the screws to their members, even though Americans passionately and vocally opposed the measure.
When Republicans began openly contemplating repeal of ObamaCare, the Democratic leadership thought such talk was rather silly. Recent polling indicating overwhelming support for repeal has silenced Democrats’ chuckling. The Missouri ballot measure invigorates pro-repeal voters and will undoubtedly spur turnout Nov. 2. With many otherwise “safe” Democrats possibly facing the electoral guillotine solely because of their support for ObamaCare, the president, Pelosi and Reid need look no further than the mirror to know who to blame.
Jacobus, president of Capitol Strategies PR, has managed congressional campaigns, worked on Capitol Hill and is an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. She appears on CNN, MSNBC and FOX News as a GOP strategist.