by Max Brantley
Here's the wishful thinking from Obama spokesman David Axelrod now that the health care law is indisputably the law of the land:
As the American people become familiar with what this program is and what it isn’t,” Mr. Axelrod said, “they’re going to be very, very happy with it.
Here's the problem:
Two years later, the public is no happier with the law than it was then. Mr. Obama’s signature initiative may have prevailed in the Supreme Court, but a White House that vowed a public relations blitz selling the act’s virtues never fully followed through, much to the frustration of many Democrats and even some of the law’s authors.
Now Mr. Obama faces the consequences as he heads toward a hotly contested election that will decide whether he has a second term and, by extension, whether the law will survive efforts to repeal it.
And while the White House and its allies sent e-mails and held conference calls promoting the overhaul soon after the Supreme Court victory on Thursday, they privately made clear their interest in moving the national conversation back to the economy, the main electoral battleground.
The public is actually quite happy with each of the individual benefits provided under the law. I think most, too, like the idea of providing more medical coverage to more people through Medicaid, particularly when they come to understand the enormous economic stimulus this will provide in money poured into the health care system that then in turns circulates through the economy in jobs, purchases, taxes and more.
Obama may be right to turn to the economy. Health care is, however, a big part of that question, whether through payments into the system or the crushing consequences for those who have no insurance or can't pay their medical bills.
None of these not-so-subtle nuances matter to the Tea (Republican) Party. They say no to covering more sick people. In the Arkansas legislature, some indicate, they'd even vote against spending for an expansion of help for Arkansans that will be fully paid by the federal government for three years and 90 percent paid afterward.
Are Arkansas Republican legislators as mean-spirited as those in Texas? We'll see soon enough. 20 of them backed Rick Perry for president, if that gives you any idea.