"It is becoming clear to me -- not that it needs to be any more clear -- that the Republican establishment does not want to run against Obamacare."
And as if to prove that Rush is right, Republican consultant Matthew Dowd on This Week With George Stephanopoulos rejected Obamacare as the reason for the victory of David Jolly over Alex Sink in last week's special congressional election in Florida. On Friday, Rush Limbaugh spoke extensively on his broadcast about how establishment Republicans want to downplay Obamacare as an issue in both the recent election as well in the congressional elections this November. At first Dowd merely ignored Obamacare but when the other panelists on this show kept bringing it up, it was too much for him and his Republican consultancy reserve broke.
First we see an ABC News report in the video above about the importance of Obamacare in the special congressional election. However, when George Stephanopoulos turns to Dowd for comment he very noticeably avoids even mentioning Obamacare:
I think this is a sign of what's going to happen in the November election. Everything was lined up in this district for the democrats to pull out the victory. They had the better candidate. Better name. More money in this. And the republican candidate was very flawed. A former lobbyist in all of this. And the democrats tried to use the playbook they used in 2012, big data, all of the logistics. But what happens in these races, is big wave always beats big data. This wasn't about a big pro-republican candidate. It is that the president's job approval, where the people see the country in this, sets it up very badly in November.
Yes, a "big wave" was all important but Obamacare? Not even mentioned. Unfortunately for Dowd, other panelists kept returning to Obamacare as the major factor in the election and finally, Dowd was forced to address the topic that he seemed to hope would go away. First, George Stephanopoulos got under Dowd;'s skin with this observation:
In the meantime, that is what the Democratic candidate tried to do in this race...Alex Sink. Mend it don't end it.
However, it was probably the comments of Bill Kristol speaking about the central role of Obamacare in the election that really irked Dowd:
Right, and Jolly, the republican candidate, his key ad at the end, went as follows. It's very short. "She supports obamacare. I don't. I'm David Jolly. And I approve this message because we need someone to look out for our interests, not president Obama's." Pretty simple message. Pretty strong message. She was a respectable candidate. She wasn't a member of Congress so she never voted for Obamacare. So If this ad was potent in Florida-13, how does this ad read when it says that she voted for Obamacare, repeatedly which is what they can say about Democratic House candidates and Democratic Senators. I think Obamacare. You can talk about different agendas. I think the republicans need a more energetic economic agenda. Republicans need to be for replace as well as repeal. That's important in health care. At the end of the day, the Obamacare vote is a huge thing.
Nooooo! This was all too much for Dowd and you can see him deny the obvious at the 6:33 mark:
This really wasn't about Jolly. And this really wasn't fundamentally about Obamacare. What this is about is the mood of the country. And I think Democrats at their peril, ignore the mood of the country. As the mood changes and it changed this year. The president has a job approval rating in the low 40s. When the president has a job approval rating in the low 40s, the democrat incumbent loses seats.
Right! Ignore Obamacare while paying attention to some ephemeral mood floating around in the ether. Perhaps the professional consultants such as Dowd should start wearing mood rings.