After the Obamacare battle what’s next for the GOP?

October 25, 2013

Oct. 25, 2013                                     Ken Bickers

It’s been a little over a week since Congress agreed to a short-term solution ending the 16-day partial federal government shutdown and averting a debt ceiling crisis. But the political fallout the GOP is experiencing due to the battle to defund the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” may last for some time, says CU-Boulder political science professor Ken Bickers. A recent CNN poll shows that just over half the public says it’s bad for the country that the GOP controls the House of Representatives.

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After the Obamacare battle what’s next for the GOP?

Oct. 25, 2013                                     Ken Bickers

It’s been a little over a week since Congress agreed to a short-term solution ending the 16-day partial federal government shutdown and averting a debt ceiling crisis. But the political fallout the GOP is experiencing due to the battle to defund the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” may last for some time, says CU-Boulder political science professor Ken Bickers. A recent CNN poll shows that just over half the public says it’s bad for the country that the GOP controls the House of Representatives.

CUT 1 “They are blaming the Republicans for a partisan brawl that led to a shutdown. So the short run hit is important, and you can see that in how quickly the Republicans folded once the polls showed how bad they were taking a hit, and then suddenly they were willing to make some kind of a deal and get it behind them and so forth.” (:20)

According to a recent CNN survey, voters have more confidence in President Obama than the GOP in Congress to deal with major issues facing the country. Bickers says losing support within the party could have severe repercussions for some GOP incumbents seeking re-election.

CUT 2 “What you could see – and this is where the damage would happen in electoral terms – is Republicans being primaried from the right by even more conservative Republicans that want to take on the incumbent because they didn’t toe the line all the way to the end (:17) and, simultaneously, better Democrat challengers to those incumbents. And that could threaten the House majority that the Republicans currently hold.” (:27)

One aspect of this latest squabble that’s different from before, says Bickers, is that the battle this time was not about taxes or the budget sequestration, but about a policy issue – the Affordable Care Act.

CUT 3 “The policy issue is really interesting. We don’t get these kinds of experiments in American politics very often. (:07) We rarely get such a clean divide between the parties over one great big issue where the public will be paying attention because it affects everybody in the country.” (:20)

And what will be even more interesting, says Bickers, is whether Obamacare is successful or not. He says he can’t remember when in modern politics so much political clout been put on the line for one issue.

CUT 4 “If Obamacare is successful and popular it means that the Democrats have a huge policy success that can be translated into political success. (:11) On the other hand, if Obamacare doesn’t work, then the Republicans will be able to say, ‘The reason we went up to the brink and beyond it was because we recognized that it was going to be bad.’ They will be able to parlay a policy failure into political success at the ballot box.” (:30)

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