As the old Republican saying goes, “No news is good news. Except when there is actual good news, make sure no one hears about it.”
It has been a tried and true formula ever since President Barack Obama took office in 2009. Whenever any kind of good news comes up, Republicans immediately either try to 1) disprove it, by using either shoddy or fake statistics combined with anecdotes or 2) immediately find something else to criticize, often times using the term “scandal” in front of the issue even if the issue originated under the George W. Bush administration. Like clockwork, Republicans have employed this strategy and unfortunately for us, the mainstream media has gobbled it up, ignoring any positive news and instead focusing on the multiple wild goose chases that Republicans have led us on over the past five and a half years.
This week, we saw a prime example of this strategy in action. The early part of the news week was dominated by the stunning defeat of Eric Cantor in his Republican primary. Rather than admit that Cantor was seen as one of the major reasons of the gridlock in Washington, Conservatives immediately piled it on Cantor claiming he was out of touch with the party and that his views on immigration were out of line with those of the people in Virginia’s 7th district. Never mind the fact that 72% of the people in Cantor’s district actually support immigration reform, this was the narrative that the Conservative media put out there for all to see. The government shutdown, the multiple votes to defund the Affordable Care Act, and the inability of the House to pass any meaningful legislation had no effect on Cantor’s ousting. Yet his views on immigration, those were clearly the straws that broke the camel’s back.
While that news died down, much to Republicans relief, it was another story that gave them a prime opportunity to attack the President: The recent events in Iraq. As Iraq descends into more and more sectarian violence and massive infighting, Republicans have used the situation to paint President Obama as a weak leader with a disastrous foreign policy. Chief among his critics has been war hawk John McCain who has yet to support any foreign policy issue that didn’t automatically require American boots on the ground. This week, McCain had the gall to suggest that the Obama administration actually pulled defeat from the jaws of victory by withdrawing troops in 2011 and that Obama’s entire national security team should be fired. In John McCain’s fairytale world, the only thing that ensures peace is having a forceful and massive military presence in the country at all times.
Of course, John McCain and his Republican colleagues will never be sending their own children to war so who better than them to make policy decisions for the American soldiers and their families?
With Republicans on the offensive like that, you can only imagine that there must be some kind of positive news that they didn’t want the average American voter to hear about. And it just so happens that that news came out in bunches and happens to involve Republicans’ kryptonite: The Affordable Care Act. We are only halfway into the month of June and yet Republicans have already been given a hearty dose of heartache due to the ACA’s successes this month. In separate reports that came out this week it was revealed that in every state so far, more insurers are asking to participate in state exchanges, it was estimated that roughly 90% of ACA enrollees have paid their first month’s premium, the growth of Medicare was shown to be slowing, and of course the devastating news that 66% of Americans want to keep Obamacare.
All this positive news has gotten Republicans shaking in their boots.
So of course, rather than lick their wounds and cut their losses they continue to attack the President. Republicans know that the Affordable Care Act will continue to be a huge political success for the Obama Administration. Despite their constant fear-mongering, lies, misinformation, and even a government shutdown, the program has and will continue to help benefit some of the most vulnerable in our society. It is a testament to the fact that government programs can, and should, help everyday Americans in their struggles. Like Social Security and Medicare, people will come to depend upon the Affordable Care Act, especially as our country moves toward a single-payer system.
The problem for Republicans is that they have an entire political party who is on record as having not supported the program. You can see it in the initial votes to enact the legislation. You can see it in the repeated attempts to repeal the law. You can see it in a presidential nominee running to abolish the program even though it was his home state that gave a blueprint for the program in the first place. The ACA is a Democratic victory. Every bit of good news is a reflection of a determined President, his administration, and the Democratic Party which needed every single one of its members to support the legislation or else it would have not succeeded. Republicans were on the wrong side of history once again and rather than own their mistake, they are insisting upon changing the subject in hopes that the American people will forget all about the previous five and a half years. And yet, for Republicans the truth will always be remembered by the American people. They will ultimately be undone by this one simple fact:
No matter how many times they change the subject, Republicans cannot change the past.