“Top Republicans are increasingly worried that GOP candidates this fall might be burned by a fire that’s roaring through the conservative base: demand for the repeal of President Barack Obama’s new health care law.
It’s fine to criticize the health law and the way Democrats pushed it through Congress without a single GOP vote, these party leaders say. But focusing on its outright repeal carries two big risks.
Repeal is politically and legally unlikely, and grass-roots activists may feel disillusioned by a failed crusade. More important, say strategists from both parties, a fiercely repeal-the-bill stance might prove far less popular in a general election than in a conservative-dominated GOP primary, especially in states such as Illinois and California….”
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who chairs the committee responsible for electing GOP senators this fall, said in an interview, “The focus really should be on the misplaced priorities of the administration” and Congress’ Democratic leaders.
“The No. 1 concern of the public is jobs and people losing their homes,” he said. “The administration has been obsessing on this health care bill.”
As the story notes, GOP Senate candidate Mark Kirk of Illinois was promising two weeks ago to “lead the effort” to repeal the measure. “On Tuesday, when asked repeatedly by reporters whether he still wants it repealed, Kirk would say only that he opposes the new taxes and Medicare cuts associated with the law.”
That kind of sudden shift almost certainly was driven by in-house polls that tested the “repeal and replace” strategy and found it wanting. (h/t Steve Benen at Washington Monthly)