Obamacare? Absolutely.

6 Aug

At long last Democrats are going on the offensive. For more than two years they ran away from the word Obamacare, surrendering it to Republicans and even trying to prohibit Republicans in Congress from using it on the House floor. Self-defeating. In politics as in hockey, you don’t score goals on defense.

Finally, Democrats are waking up. Not only does the President care; the word itself, properly used, puts Romney in a box. I can see the bumper stickers now: “Obama Cares. Romney Doesn’t.”

Every Democratic candidate, every Democratic speaker, should be asking audiences, “What would Romney replace Obamacare with? Romneycare?” Think about it. Romney totally backed away from the word Romneycare during the primaries for fear of alienating the Tea Party. And now he’s stuck with that.

It’s not that he can’t reverse himself. For Mitt Romney, reversing himself is as natural as yawning. His problem is that he’s got nowhere to go. The whole country knows that Obamacare was in all important respects built upon Romneycare, including the individual mandate. So when Democrats ask if he would replace Obamacare with Romneycare, they’ll be putting him in an impossible position.

Either he has to invent “the new Romneycare” and explain how it differs from “the old Romneycare” (and he’s right about one thing — when you’re explaining, you’re losing) or he has to take back ownership of the old Romneycare and explain why he ran away from it in the first place, in which case he’ll still be explaining and still be losing.

But Democratic embracing of the word Obamacare goes even further. It should be applied to tax breaks. “Obama cares about tax breaks for you. Does Romney?” The answer is not only obvious; it immediately puts Romney on the defensive. “Obama cares about your Social Security, about protecting your Medicare, about keeping American jobs in America. Does Romney?”

Democrats should be challenging Republicans to keep using the word Obamacare. “We’re delighted that Republicans keep reminding Americans that the President cares about them. That’s why Republicans never talk about Romneycare. Because they know Mr. Romney doesn’t care.”

This is a game-changer.

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