Obamacare backlash: Who'll pay in November?

The historic health care bill is splitting Americans, say polls. Who will voters reward — and punish — in the November midterms?

Who will pay in November?
(Image credit: Corbis)

Democrats are rejoicing over the landmark health care reform package, but their exultation could be short-lived if the party can't sell its new law to a skeptical, sometimes hostile, public. Both Democrats and Republicans are insisting health care reform will help them politically in November midterm elections, but history suggests otherwise. (Watch a Fox Business report about health reform's role in the November elections.) Here's a look at who might lose out in November, and why:

Democrats: Dems could find their November losses in 2010 even more brutal than the 1994 "elephant stampede" that followed a failed attempt at health reform, predicts Bill Bennett in National Review. Democrats have the same ethics and fiscal problems as in 1994, but this fall they'll confront the consequences of passing a deeply unpopular health bill through "constitutional perversion." (As The New York Times points out, “Never in modern memory has a major piece of legislation passed without a single Republican vote.")

"We will show them in November what liberty means"

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Republicans: The GOP thinks making 2010 a "shrill and angry" referendum on health care reform is a winning strategy, says Mark Halperin in Time, but they're "playing right into the Democrats' hands." Screaming about repealing the "socialist" ObamaCare may rally "die-hard conservatives," but the GOP needs a broader coalition to win, and some traditional allies, like business, actually like health care reform.

"Can the GOP succeed by running against health care?"

Obama: Securing the health care overhaul is a big win for Obama, says David Sanger in The New York Times, but he's also "lost something — and lost it for good": his winning promise of a rational, "post-partisan" Washington. Passing a huge bill with only one party on board could be "political suicide," especially if he loses Democratic control of Congress this fall, and any remnants of his "mandate."

"A big win for Obama, but at what cost?"

Mitt Romney: Romney was waiting for the midterm results before announcing his 2012 presidential intentions, says Josh Marshall in Talking Points Memo. But if the GOP runs against ObamaCare, it's a "no-brainer" that Romney can't be their standard-bearer. He's making some "pretty over-the-top" accusations about the health-care bill, but it's essentially the same reform package he enacted as governor of Massachusetts.

"Romney + HRC = toast"

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