Rove: Obamacare Yoke Weighs Heavily on 2014 Democratic Candidates

Thursday, 12 Dec 2013 03:24 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Democratic lawmakers seeking re-election in 2014 will pay a heavy political price for having supported President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act in 2010, writes Karl Rove in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

Rove, a veteran Republican strategist and former deputy chief of staff to president George W. Bush, writes that the intensity of emotions against Obamacare is striking.

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A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 50 percent opposed Obamacare — 43 percent being keenly against, while 34 percent thought it was a good idea — of whom just 27 percent felt strongly in favor.

"The intensity of feeling is with its critics," writes Rove.

Democratic senators up for re-election in red states will find it hard to justify their support of the president's healthcare plan even if they try to disassociate from its failures by criticizing the way it has been implemented.

Among the lawmakers politically at-risk are Alaska Sen. Mark Begich who now says he has "issues with Obamacare." Given that he ardently supported it and won in 2008 with just 3,953 votes, against an opponent who had legal troubles, his re-election chances this time around will be even more iffy, Rove writes.

Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, once an enthusiastic Obamacare backer and now a stern critic of the HealthCare.gov website, also has to worry how he can win re-election in a state the president lost last time around by 24 points.

Then there is Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana who not only voted for Obamacare but says she would do so again — even as she says she is trying to fix it. Louisianans by a margin of 59 to 34 percent oppose Obamacare.

Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, worried about her support of Obamacare now says, "We need to figure out why this happened."

Rove replies that her "Republican opponent will solve the mystery: 'This happened' because of Kay Hagan's vote."

Even Democrats in what Rove calls purple states have cause to worry about their political fortunes. New Hampshire's senior Senator Jeanne Shaheen is in jeopardy for having embraced Obamacare. So, too, is  Colorado Sen. Mark Udall and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner.

Democratic congressmen who are seeking to become senators will also face a hard time for having backed the president. Bruce Braley in Iowa and Gary Peters in Michigan being two prime examples.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada claims support for Obamacare will prove "good" for Democrats running in 2014. Rove concludes those are "brave words" considering how enormously unpopular the Affordable Care Act is among so many Americans.

Editor's Note: ObamaCare Is Here. Are You Prepared?

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