Tags: Healthcare Reform | Linder | Steele | GOP | Obamacare

Former GOP Leaders: Party Needs More Than Obamacare Opposition

By John Gizzi   |   Thursday, 14 Nov 2013 10:10 AM

With a new Quinnipiac Poll showing widespread voter anger over Obamacare, two former heads of national GOP campaign committees urged opposition to the healthcare law as part of a bigger campaign against the Democratic agenda.

John Linder and Michael Steele — former chairmen, respectively, of the
National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican National Committee — told Newsmax that their party's campaign in 2014 should include opposition to Obamacare as a cornerstone of demonstrating how different the Republican agenda is from the Democratic Party agenda.

"Obamacare is the penultimate chapter in the book on big government," former Georgia Rep. Linder told Newsmax. "It will be an issue whether the party makes it one or not."

Steele agreed that "Republicans will have an opportunity to expose Obamacare [in 2014] much as we did in 2010, especially given the now-palpable concern a growing majority of Americans have about its implementation, costs, and what they will ultimately get from it."

But, the former Maryland lieutenant governor and 2006 Republican U.S. Senate nominee quickly added, "Party leaders shouldn't think that just hawking anti-Obamacare rhetoric will give them electoral cache with African Americans, Hispanics, and women."

As examples, Steele pointed to "inaction on immigration reform, which has caused problems among Hispanic voters, and the government shutdown and lack of bipartisanship, major problems with women."

"They will also need to put something else on the table," Steele said.

"Obamacare," Steele warned, "may serve as the beginning of the discussion, but then there is everything else that Republicans have said and done to tick off those voters since 2010 that the party will need to reconcile before there is an appreciable movement toward the GOP."

Linder and Steele spoke to Newsmax a day after the respected Quinnipiac University Poll, which is unaffiliated with either major party, revealed its latest figures showing only 19 percent of American voters believe the quality of healthcare they will receive will improve next year under Obamacare.

In contrast, Quinnipiac found that 43 percent believe the quality of their healthcare will get worse under Obamacare; 33 percent said it won’t change.

Linder, who chaired the NRCC from 1996-98, added that the poll showed that "a larger problem for the Democrats is the 23-point swing in 'trust.'"

For President Barack Obama, Quinnipiac found results even more devastating.

By a margin of 52 percent to 44 percent, American voters do not find the president honest and trustworthy. The survey showed his disapproval-approval rating is 54 percent to 39 percent — the lowest figures Quinnipiac has shown for Obama's approval since he became president.

With disapproval among independent voters at 63 percent to 30 percent, Quinnipiac found, white voters disapprove 62 percent to 32 percent and Hispanic voters disapprove by a margin of 47 percent to 41 percent.

Democrats approve of the president’s performance by 79 percent to 14 percent and black voters 75 percent to 15 percent, with white voters disapproving by 62 percent to 32 percent.

When it comes to Obamacare, the results from Quinnipiac revealed no gender gap: men are opposed to it 59 percent to 37 percent and women are opposed 51 percent to 41 percent.

John Gizzi is chief political correspondent and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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