For a while, liberals stayed away from the term, but as the public as grown more and more accustomed to it, they have changed tactics.
I’m with Kevin Drum. I’ve never really had a problem with the term. I’ve never really seen what the problem is. And I somewhat agree with Drum when he writes “if ACA eventually becomes popular, then Obamacare will be a positive term. If it fails, then it will fade away. It’s that simple.”
I don’t think it’d fade away if the law fails. Conservatives will forever use it to remind the public that the Democrats tried and failed to reform health care. But I think there’s a better reason for liberals to use the term “Obamacare.” If (and when, in my opinion) the law succeeds and popularity for it soars, Obama and the Democrats deserve credit it.
And Democrats will receive a great share of that credit, but Republicans are not going to just let the Dems bask in the glory of the law without trying to gain some of that credit themselves. They may claim that the success of the law is because of the state-run exchanges, not the federal government. They may claim it’s a result of governors actually accepting the new Medicaid expansion. No matter what though, they are going to try to spin it more in their favor, no matter how hard that may be.
And under that scenario, “Obamacare” would certainly disappear from the conservative lexicon. But it shouldn’t disappear from the public’s lexicon. After all, conservatives have used the word to attack Obama for the past 3+ years. Why should it disappear right when the law becomes successful?
In all likelihood, it wouldn’t. It’s likely too ingrained in the public image of the law to simply vanish just because it’s no longer a conservative talking point. But Democrats have proven inept at messaging the law and it’s not impossible for that to happen.
But Democrats and Obama deserve credit for the law if it succeeds. They cannot allow Republican messaging to diminish the fact that the Democrat plan worked. So how do we prevent that from happening? By calling it “Obamacare” now. Make sure the name is even more embedded in the public discourse. Make sure Democrats are used to using the term. Support the law and build a positive message around the term. And don’t back away from it if (and when) it succeeds. That’s how you ensure that Obama and Democrats get credit.
It starts by accepting the term now and I’m glad to see Democrats (finally) doing that. (Image Via)