Writing at Big Government, Democrat pollster Pat Cadell writes that the Supreme Court’s ruling affirming ObamaCare as a tax — ObamaTax, in essence — combine with President Obama’s presence on the November ticket to make his signature legislation an even more potent issue than it was in the 2010 midterms. ObamaCare arguably cost the Democrats their House majority, several governorships and legislatures, and led to historic Republican gains in states they already controlled.
This November, if President Obama goes before the voters on the defensive–that is, on a rickety platform of defending Obamacare as a tax increase–it is he who has a huge problem. After all, his healthcare program was sold as a boon to the middle class, with a few regulatory sticks included therein. But if Obamacare can be exposed for what it is–a huge tax increase, the reality of which Obamacare proponents did their best to obscure–then the probability of his survival shrinks dramatically. To be sure, such an exposing of Obamacare as the ObamaTax will not be easy; the White House and the Democrats, as well as their handmaidens in the Main Stream Media, will do their best to armor up against any attack on the tax issue.
So Romney must wield that cudgel, and wield it hard. And so must Republicans, because if the campaign against Obamacare–the ObamaTax–is to be truly effective, it must be a top-to-bottom message. Indeed, as we shall see, the anti-ObamaTax message could be even stronger for down-ballot Republicans than for Romney himself.
Cadell writes that ObamaTax is more than just a fiscal or even constitutional issue:
The President promised no new taxes on the middle class, specifically saying that the mandate was a penalty, not a tax. Meanwhile, through the entire process of the legal challenge to Obamacare, Justice Department lawyers argued that the mandate was a tax. Indeed, his own Solicitor Generalasserted before the Supreme Court in March that the mandate was a tax.
It was a classic “bait and switch.” So thus the inevitable question: Was the President trying to deceive us when he said that the mandate was not a tax? Or were his aides deceiving him–telling him to say one thing while they said another? Answering that question poses a Hobson’s Choice for Obama: On the one hand, he admits to deception, and on the other hand, he admits that he can’t detect deception within his circle–and furthermore, that he tolerates it after it is exposed. No matter what the answer to that forked question, the President will have lost his 2008 glow; he is no longer the man who can transcend the blue-state/red-state division through the grace of his own noble character.
These are the big stakes for the 2012 election: whether a deceptive president–and/or a deceptive presidential administration–should be rewarded with a second term.
Is Caddell right? Polls right now, before the Romney campaign or the GOP have really united around a message beyond repealing ObamaCare, show the economy as the lead issue with health care maybe third. But Caddell notes that a Rasmussen poll finds an interesting issue ranking: The economy, followed by healthcare an corruption. The president’s character isn’t on the radar at all, yet. But a majority wants ObamaCare repealed and a similar majority believe Obama has led the country in the wrong direction. A majority disagree with some of his specific decisions, such as prioritizing ObamaCare over the economy, and scuttling the XL Pipeline. His 2009 stimulus was never popular. His approval/disapproval has been underwater for a long time now, while people keep telling pollsters that they like him personally.
There is room, according to the polls and especially that Rasmussen poll, for the GOP to build a strong case against Obama’s judgement, and related to that, his choices, his politics and his character. There is room for the GOP to argue that Obama was either duped or participated in duping the American public over whether ObamaCare was a tax or not, and that argument is probably the most direct route to attacking his truthfulness. There is room to make the case that every single Democrat from Obama on down who supported his healthcare law were either dupes who now have a duty to repeal the tax they said was not a tax, or admit that they were part of the deception all along. As for Obama’s role, the Republicans could frame the issue like this: If he was a dupe, he’s unfit for the job. If he was part of the deception, he’s unfit for the job. Saying that he has “tried real hard” shouldn’t cut it for the presidency of the United States of America.
Obama has already waved the surrender flag on the economy; last week’s pathetic jobs report forced his hand. He is using this week’s tax pitch to distract from last week’s flop. He doesn’t want to run on ObamaTax, but it’s his signature “Big f-ing deal” and he should have to.