That's right, the Democrats did pass a health care bill that a plurality of Americans opposed. And it is in so many ways an awful piece of jumbled-up law. But it will not be the wedge issue that can in November deliver back to the Republicans those marginally safe seats now held by Democrats.
Here's why: Most of the health care reform won't go into effect until long after the 2010 elections. The Democrats are banking that the public will forget this as a news story and feel no real immediate impact in their lives. They're even hoping they might pick up some support, by virtue of some early provisions of the law that do go into effect this year, such as children being allowed to stay on their parents' health insurance into their mid-20s.
Many readers may be familiar with TV's Jay Leno when he airs a segment of his show called "Jay Walking." He asks passers-by on the street the most rudimentary questions -- such as "Who is the father of our country?" -- only to get answers like "Bill Clinton" (or perhaps "John Edwards," if the interviewees follow "Entertainment Tonight"). These comedy bits serve to illustrate that most people don't know or care much about politics.
There is also the added possibility that by November the economy will be somewhat on the mend. That could bolster the Democrats' election chances a bit more.
So what is the best way for Republicans to win possible swing races? The answer is to look back at the financial disaster that in the fall of 2008 scarred this nation almost as indelibly as 9-11 did. It's simply called too much debt and no money.
How do you turn tired concepts like these into something that changes an election? By making an analogy between the conditions that led to the sudden near-collapse of our financial system in just a few weeks in 2008 to the very real possibility that the same thing could one day happen to our entire national treasury. And you do it with paid advertising.
As a pollster, I can tell you this is the only way to get your message across in our multimedia world. I'm talking huge television efforts, all with the same message.
Here are a few examples of what the public does not know, but that would jolt them: