Something You Don’t See Everyday: A Democrat Running On Obamacare

by Dish Staff

Senator Mark Pryor shows his party how it’s done:

Jonathan Cohn reminds us that “this is how Democrats usually win on Medicare and Medicaidby reminding voters of what they have to lose from proposed Republican attacks on the programs”:

This isn’t just some ad the Pryor campaign posted online, in order to gin up donations from liberals. Greg Sargent of the Washington Post reports that it’s airing across the state, at a cost that runs into hundreds of thousands of dollars. And while one ad does not a political trend make, you don’t have to squint to see signs that the politics of Obamacare are shifting. Bloomberg News just did a study of Republican television ads and discovered that mentions of Obamacare are way down from where they were a few months ago. Meanwhile, as Sargent has pointed out several times, Republican Senators and Senate candidates are struggling to explain their opposition to the law, even in conservative states.

Alex Rogers looks at why Pryor’s ad works:

First, he hones in on the most popular aspect of the Affordable Care Act: coverage for those with preexisting conditions, which has support across the aisle.

“We all agree that nobody should be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition,” David Ray, a Cotton campaign spokesman, told TIME in an emailed statement.

Second, Pryor’s ad doesn’t use the term “Obamacare,” the Affordable Care Act’s nickname first coined by its critics. AKaiser Health Tracking poll released August 1 found that a little over half of the public—53%—have an unfavorable view of Obamacare. But when referred to by a different name, the law’s negative ratings can decrease, polls show.

Republicans are attacking Pryor for not mentioning Obamacare by name. Buetler scores that fight:

Republicans working to defeat Pryor … criticize Pryor for eschewing the label, because the label’s just about the only thing they’re comfortable assailing. In this way, they resemble Democrats six and eight years ago, running against the Bush tax cuts (for the rich), knowing that they had no intention of letting anything but the most regressive of those tax cuts expire.

In that sense, the GOP’s obsession with the moniker, and only the moniker, is excellent news for Obamacare’s political durability.