Barack Obama wanted to galvanize Democrats when he insisted this week that his economic policies are on the ballot in November. Instead, the soundbite has already become the centerpiece of new Republican attack ads.
Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell uses the clip in a new commercial, shared first with POLITICO. Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts turned his own ad earlier Friday morning. And New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown is using the clip in a web video against Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
“Alison Grimes says this election is not about her support for Barack Obama and his failed policies,” a narrator says over footage of a Grimes commercial that showed her shooting a gun. “But Obama himself says a vote for Alison is a vote for his policies.”
Obama’s comments Thursday came in front of a supportive crowd in Illinois during a speech billed as an attempt to refocus the national discourse on his economic agenda.
“I am not on the ballot this fall … But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot — every single one of them,” he said.
— GOP ads pounce on Obama’s economy comments, James Hohmann and Kyle Cheney, Politico, today
The article goes on to say that Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts and New Hampshire Repub. Senate nominee Scott Brown will run similar ads in their respective states.
To which I say: Please do. It is, after all, Obama himself, not Obama’s actual economic policies—which most people have no clue about—that creates the problem for the Democrats. Much less is the problem for the Dems the Senate Democrats’ proposed economic policies— which most people have no clue about. The economic policies that the Senate Republicans are blocking.
Obama prefaced those comments with some actual specifics about the results thus far of one set of his policies, Obamacare. Justic Sink of The Hill reported yesterday (H/T Paul Waldman):
“There’s a reason fewer [Republicans] are running against ObamaCare — because while good, affordable healthcare might still be a fanged threat to freedom on Fox News, it’s working pretty well in the real world,” the president said.
The day after the anniversary of rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges, Obama argued that a “dramatic slowdown in the rising cost of healthcare” had led to more individuals being covered and prices staying lower.
“If we hadn’t taken this on, and premiums had kept growing at the rate they did in the last decade, the average premium for family coverage today would be $1,800 higher than they are,” Obama said. “That’s $1,800 you don’t have to pay out of our pocket or see vanish from your paycheck. That’s like an $1,800 tax cut.”
And, Obama said, the cost of government healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid are decreasing alongside the costs of private insurance.
“Healthcare has long been the single biggest driver of America’s future deficits,” Obama said. “Healthcare is now the single biggest factor driving those deficits down.” …
“In just the last year, we’ve reduced the share of uninsured Americans by 26 percent,” Obama said. “That means 1 in 4 uninsured Americans — about 10 million people — have gained the financial security of health insurance in less than one year.”
The president also argued that the availability of insurance through ObamaCare meant young entrepreneurs were freed “to strike out on your own and chase that new idea,” rather than remaining in jobs that provided medical coverage.
It’s great that Obama finally deigned to speak publicly about the specifics—including specific results—of one of his policies, Obamacare. He generally doesn’t do speaking publicly about the specifics (and certainly not specific results) of his policies, or, regarding most of his and the congressional Dems’ economic policies, even the existence of their policies and policy proposals. Which may be why no one knows the specifics, or even the generalities.
But, the press being the press, and the political punditry being the political punditry, what matters is that Obama said the words, “I am not on the ballot this fall … But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot — every single one of them.” “These policies” could mean … well … it doesn’t matter.
As it happens, a majority of the public, even in “red” states, aren’t all that keen on the prospect of the Koch brothers’ policies becoming Congress’s blatant policies. So the new Republican ads about Obama’s policies being on the ballot should be countered not only with a demand to know which specific economic, fiscal and regulatory policies these candidates want to repeal but also with reminders that the Koch brothers’ policies are on the ballot, too.
Every. Single. One. Of. Them.