Was Sarah Palin A Big Loser In Massachusetts Tuesday? Mitt?
Maybe Levi can run for something someday too
While Insider establishment Republicans dream about-- or plot to-- thwart teabagger dreams by running Scott Brown (the naked, white Obama) against Sarah Palin, the ironies upon ironies of the role of healthcare reform in Scott's election are starting to sink in.
Did he win because Massachusetts voters already have a better plan than the crappy Senate plan that Obama seems to have accepted? Did his victory wreck Mitt Romney's hope to present himself as the only plausible Republican presidential candidate who could pass as sane? Are the teabaggers about to recognize that they got played by Republican Party hacks like Dick Armey who have turned them into (effective) foot soldiers for the uber-corporatist party (as opposed to the junior corporatist party)?
Late yesterday Timothy Noah's post at Slate, How Romneycare Killed Obamacare, came out with a nasty subtitle, the gist of which I tweeted last week: "Massachusetts to Washington: 'I Got Mine.'"
[T]here is evidence that Romney played a powerful indirect role in Brown's victory by persuading Massachusetts voters that they didn't need the health care reform bill that Brown and his fellow Republicans oppose. How did he achieve that? By giving them a slightly more left-wing version of the same health reform plan four years ago.
According to an election-night poll by Scott Rasmussen (who leans conservative but has a pretty good track record), 56 percent of Massachusetts voters said health care was the most important factor in their voting decisions, compared with only 25 percent who rated the economy the most important factor. A narrow majority of 51 percent said they opposed the health reform bill, compared with 47 percent who favored it. Fifty percent said they'd prefer no health reform bill at all to the one being hatched in Washington. (Brown's position: "I will insist they start over.") That jibes with an exit poll conducted by the Republican firm Fabrizio, McLaughlin, & Associates, which found that 52 percent of voters opposed health care reform. Forty-eight percent said it was the single issue determining their vote. (No independent exit polls are available, apparently because the Boston Globe and the national press decided, early on, that conducting any would not be worth their while.)
Because Massachusetts has had its own version of health care reform since 2006-- one that serves as the closest model for Obamacare... A 2008 survey published in Health Affairs found that support for Romneycare, which stood at 61 percent at the time of its enactment, had steadily increased to 69 percent. Support has since fallen (probably because the recession has made voters understandably anxious about the state's sharply rising premiums). But a majority of Bay Staters continues to favor Romneycare. Fifty-nine percent supported it in a Sept. 2009 poll conducted by the Boston Globe and Harvard's School of Public Health, and 54 percent did in a Suffolk University poll released last week.
Physicians are even more enthusiastic, 70% of Massachusetts doctors giving it a thumbs up. And, although U.S. Senator Scott Brown has pledged to be-- his whole campaign seemed to revolved around being-- the 41st filibuster vote to kill healthcare reform for America, state Senator Scott Brown voted for Romneycare. Brown's campaign seemed to hope voters would selfishly conclude that Massachusetts residents, already covered, would pay something so that low-income people in other parts of the country get healthcare. And it seems to have worked well enough for him to squeak through-- and displace Sarah Palin, at least for now, as the GOP It Girl... or whatever.