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The Real Lessons of 1994 - HHILLARYCARE VS OBAMACARE

The Real Lessons of 1994
Voters punished Democrats for Hillarycare. They'll do the same for Obamacare.

by Jeffrey H. Anderson and Andy Wickersham
12/21/2009, Volume 015, Issue 14

Democratic senators and congressmen have been trying to convince each other, particularly their more conservative colleagues, that they'll all be better off in the 2010 elections--and will avoid a repeat of their 1994 debacle--if they pass Obama-care. Bill Clinton, half of the central duo in the failed attempt to pass Hillarycare in 1994, recently addressed Senate Democrats and sang the party-line tune. Speaking to reporters afterward, Clinton said, "I think it is good politics to pass this and to pass it as soon as they can. .  .  . The worst thing to do is nothing."

But the evidence cuts the other way. Democrats did indeed get slaughtered in 1994--with Republicans taking over the House for the first time since the Truman administration--but it wasn't because they failed to pass Hil-lary-care. It was because they tried.

It's true, there were no formal votes on a bill, so there was no chance for Democratic members to distance themselves officially from the plan. Nevertheless, voters knew that it was the more conservative Democrats (with the GOP, then as now the minority party, urging them on) who killed the bill--over their more liberal colleagues' objections.

So who paid the price in 1994? Was it the typical Democrats, for trying to pass Hillarycare or their more conservative colleagues for stopping it?

The question is timely, for Americans' notion of what their health care would be like under Obamacare is strikingly similar to what they thought it would be like under Hillarycare. A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that, by 37 to 19 percent, Americans think the quality of their health care would get worse, rather than better, under Obamacare. The same poll's nearly identical question about Hillarycare in 1994 also showed that Americans thought the quality of their health care would get worse, by 38 to 20 percent.

What, then, really happened to Democrats in the 1994 election? We took liberal/conservative ratings from the American Conservative Union and divided congressional Democrats into ideological thirds: most conservative, typical, and most liberal. We then examined how each group of Democrats fared in seeking reelection in the wake of Hillarycare and compared those results with the reelection bids of Democrats in the congressional elections of the last 20 years.

The conclusions are clear, and they defy the notion that the worst thing that Democrats could do is nothing. In the other nine elections over the past 20 years, the typical (middle-third) Democrats have done far better than the more conservative Democrats. In fact, conservative Democrats have lost 67 percent more often than their party's typical members. In 1994, that turned around completely: That year, typical Democrats lost 56 percent more often than their more conservative colleagues.

In other words: Voters did punish Democrats for trying to pass Hillarycare, but they didn't punish them evenly--and they certainly didn't punish them for failing to pass it. Instead, voters went comparatively easy on the more conservative Democrats who opposed it.

Conservative Democrats generally do worse than their colleagues in seeking reelection because they usually run in contested districts that either party can realistically win. They are often running on Republican--or at least highly disputed--turf. Conversely, the most liberal Democrats usually run in Democratic strongholds. Over the last two decades--apart from 1994--more conservative Democrats have been twice as apt to lose as other members of their party. Given the districts or states in which they run, this is not at all surprising. But what is surprising is this: In 1994, the more conservative Democrats erased that disadvantage.

In 1994, the more conservative third of Democrats ran in states where the average margin of victory for President Clinton had been only 1.6 percentage points (compared to 5.6 percentage points nationally). Meanwhile, the other two-thirds of Democrats ran in states where Clinton's average margin of victory had been 7.7 percentage points. Despite the far greater challenge they faced in running on much less friendly soil, the more conservative Democrats won every bit as often in 1994 as other Democrats did--the only time in the past 20 years that they were able to pull off this improbable result.

But what is most striking is how much better the conservative third did than the typical Democrats of the middle third. Compared with the more conservative Democrats, typical Democrats ran twice as often in the six most consistently Democratic states (those Democrats won by 10 percentage points or more in each of the past five presidential elections) and barely half as often in GOP states (those the GOP won in most of those elections). Despite this huge advantage in voter composition, they not only failed to win more often, they lost 56 percent more often.

Swing-voters apparently (and rightly) blamed typical Democrats for advancing Hillarycare. Where independent voters were not really decisive--such as in the most liberal members' districts--this effect wasn't strongly felt. But where independents held sway, typical Democrats felt their wrath. And in 1994, the voters did this without the benefit of being able to consult concrete votes on the proposed health care legislation. They won't be similarly handicapped in 2010.

In June of this year, a Fox News poll showed that (among those who had an opinion on the matter) 73 percent of independents approved of President Obama's job performance. After five months of debate over Obama's health care overhaul, the same poll now shows that only 40 percent of independents approve of his job performance.

If Democrats want to go on an electoral suicide mission in the face of clear public opposition and try to pass a nation-changing piece of legislation by a party-line vote (both Social Security and Medicare were passed by majorities of both parties in at least one congressional chamber), they should consider one further fact. The proposed legislation won't take effect quickly, much of it not until 2014. Before then, we'll vote in two national elections. The American people would not only be able to vote out members who disregard their wishes and pass legislation they don't want. Through the election of other members, they would be able to repeal that legislation.

In the wake of the Hillarycare debate in 1994, voters harshly punished typical Democratic members. As the calendar approaches 2010, many Democratic members face a potentially career-defining choice that will determine whether their constituents will regard them as being among the more conservative members of their party, or among its typical members. If 1994 is any guide, this determination could well decide their fate. The question for such Democratic members is this: Are you willing to die charging a hill that may well be retaken in 2010 and 2012 in your absence?

Jeffrey H. Anderson, a senior fellow in health care studies at the Pacific Research Institute, was the senior speechwriter for Secretary Mike Leavitt at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is the director of the Benjamin Rush Society. Andy Wickersham is a writer and consultant.

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Re: The Real Lessons of 1994 - HHILLARYCARE VS OBAMACARE


Left rebels against health reform

Politico ^ | December 17, 2009  Mike Allen

In a stunning reversal of fortune for President Barack Obama, top progressives are attacking the health-reform plan moving through the Senate as “hollow,” “unsupportable” and a sellout to corporate interests.

Republicans, after plotting for months to sink the signature legislation of Obama’s first year, suddenly think that Democrats might wind up doing it for them.

Most dangerously for White House chances of assembling 60 Senate votes, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean launched a third day of attacks on the emerging bill, arguing in a Washington Post op-ed that it meets none of his benchmarks for “real reform.”

“[A]s it stands, this bill would do more harm than good to the future of America,” Dean wrote, then took to the airwaves to amplify his case.

Ed Schultz, an influential liberal radio host, declared on his “Ed Show” on MSNBC: “The base is restless. They are wandering in the wilderness, Mr. President. … They want to know, where are you? … Right now, Mr. President, your base thinks you’re nothing but a sellout — a corporate sellout, out that. … The only people who like this current bill right now, Mr. President, is the insurance industry — they get a bunch of new customers.”

Markos Moulitsas, founder of Daily Kos, wrote on his Twitter feed: “Time to kill this monstrosity coming out of the Senate.” And “Kos” blogged: “You pass a s——-y program now that further bankrupts our nation, and we won’t be talking about ‘fixing’ it in a few years, but whether it should even exist.”

With polls showing erosion in both Obama’s popularity and in support for health reform, the White House mobilized to try to tamp down the rebellion from such essential allies.

Senior adviser David Axelrod called in to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to argue that Dean’s criticisms are “predicated on a bunch of erroneous conclusions.”

“To defeat a bill that will bend the curve on this inexorable rise in health-care costs is insane,” Axelrod said. “I think that would be a tragic, tragic outcome. I don’t think that you want this moment to pass. It will not come back.”

Liberals contend that the bill has been watered down so much that Congress should kill it and start over. The White House warns that health reform could be doomed for the rest of this presidency, and probably beyond, if it falters now.

The attack from the left comes at a delicate juncture when a delay of more than a couple of days could sink any remaining chance that the Senate can pass it by Christmas. Senate Democrats are circulating a possible schedule that would have them taking the final vote on Christmas Day.

Right now, Democrats are at least two votes shy of the 60 they need to pass the bill, with liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) saying he has not committed to vote for the bill in its current form.

The other, moderate Sen. Ben. Nelson (D-Neb.), has a completely different set of concerns, saying he’s still looking at compromise language designed to bar federal funds from paying for abortion – though the National Right to Life Committee has said the proposal by Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is not acceptable.

But Obama’s problem now is on the left. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann told viewers Wednesday night that the Senate version has become “unsupportable … a hollow shell of a bill”: “This is not health, this is not care, this is certainly not reform.”

Pulling back the curtain on White House efforts to rein in Dean, Axelrod said the former governor “got on the phone with Nancy-Ann DeParle, our point person on the health care issue, [who] went through point by point.

“She explained why he was wrong,” Axelrod continued. “And he simply didn’t want to hear that critique. I saw his piece in The Post this morning, and it is predicated on a bunch of erroneous conclusions.”

Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, said on “Morning Joe” that business lobbyists “are winning” on a host of Washington issues, including health reform.

“There is no cost containment here,” she said. “Reconciliation [a Democrats-only strategy requiring only 51 votes] is a very pragmatic alternative.”

Asked if she would enthusiastically support Obama for reelection, Huffington replied: “This is not really the question. … Depends on the alternative. … The American middle class was let down. … Can you really say this White House is on the side of the American people?”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) accused the Democrats Thursday of abandoning the goal of true reform to the political imperative of simply passing any bill they can label health reform.

“It’s now an effort by a political party to protect itself. They’re in a political panic, quite frankly,” Graham told reporters. “Nobody really cares what it is anymore as long as they can get it passed, signed, and claim a political victory. That is going to do a lot of damage to long-term health care reform efforts. And I would urge them not to do this. They’re walking off a cliff.”

Peggy Noonan, the columnist and former Reagan speechwriter, told Axelrod on “Morning Joe”: “On the issue of health care, you are losing the left, you are losing the right, you are losing the center. That looks to me like a political disaster.”

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Re: The Real Lessons of 1994 - HHILLARYCARE VS OBAMACARE

Criminal behavior: unacceptable developments on healthcare
December 20, 2009

Conservative Examiner Anthony G. MartinPrevious

Now that Harry Reid and the Democratic leadership have secured the 60 votes needed to override any potential move by Republicans to block the measure, Congress is set to force the public into a 2-trillion-dollar healthcare deal that the U.S. cannot afford.

With multi-trillion-dollar deficits and a national debt that stands at 12 trillion (106 trillion when you include unfunded liabilities), the healthcare bill that Obama and his talking mouthpieces in the state-run media refer to as ‘historic’ will set into motion a truly ‘historic’ snowball effect that will end in complete bankruptcy and financial and economic ruin.

 The Feds shut down SEVEN MORE banks this past Friday alone.

China, which already essentially owns America due to the fact that they have funded most of the mind-boggling debt we have incurred with this government’s penchant for multi-trillion-dollar social programs and financial bailouts, warned yesterday that the world can no longer afford to buy up any more U.S. debt.

This is precisely the doomsday scenario to which many of us have pointed for months. When China and our other creditors decide they can no longer afford to fund American extravagance on the part of our reckless government, the money will simply dry up and there will be ZERO funds available for healthcare, social programs, financial bailouts, unemployment assistance, or even your pensions and Social Security.

Why? Because your government has essentially squandered your entire future—everything you’ve worked for—in order to pay for extravagance and ‘hope and change’ in an era of a global economic crisis. When everyone else was forced to cut back and exhibit some frugality, the U.S. Government went on a spending spree like a bunch of adolescents with a blank check.

Our future, in short, and the future of generations of Americans to come, has been ‘hocked’—mortgaged away in order to ***********///////********//////****** loans from China and others to pay for our government’s reckless spending habits.

Thus, the U.S. can in no way afford a 2 trillion dollar healthcare program that supposedly covers an extra 30 million Americans—15-20 million of which are illegal aliens.

Regarding this monstrosity that Congress is getting ready to approve, Senator Ben Nelson—the lone Democratic holdout who, at the last minute, caved to a bribe by the federal government for his state of Nebraska, is facing a heavy backlash for his support for the bill, and rightly so.

Nelson had previous received solid, unwavering support from pro-life groups in Nebraska, including the Catholic bishops. Today, however, these groups turned against the Senator, referring to him as a ‘traitor,’ given that obviously his supposed ‘pro-life’ stance totally collapsed when the criminals gave him enough loot.

Naturally Nelson is defending his sell-out and whorish activity, as are all of the others who have been bought off by the Democratic leadership, the Obama Administration, and the big bucks behind the scenes that fund them, such as George Soros and a dozen or more anti-American, Marxist extremist organizations.

Lest we forget who these traitors are, here are some of the names—Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln, Bernie Sanders, Joe Lieberman, Evan Bayh, and others.

Obviously these Village Idiots have forgotten that the U.S. is fresh out of money, that we have hocked our entire future for generations to come to China and other nations who have secured our debt, and that we cannot afford the gargantuan programs they keep rolling out that eat up our tax money.

And they surely have forgotten where this tax money comes from. It doesn’t belong to them. It belongs to us. They have stolen it and squandered it like criminals. Time for some justice.