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GOP Missing Obamacare Opportunity

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: The Republican response. You know, the Republican response is a no-win.  Any response is a no-win.  There's nothing you can do.  It's television.  It's optics.  There's just no way.  You can have the nicest looking room and fireplace in the world, and nothing is gonna compare to a packed House chamber no matter who the president is, no matter what he's thought of.  So it's a tough thing to overcome. 

There's another thing here that -- just so there's no confusion, I like Cathy McMorris Rodgers.  I think she's fantastic, and I really hope -- well, what I want to say is, I really hope that she doesn't get totally co-opted by the establishment.  I really don't want to say it that way, but I guess I just did.  Great choice, I think.  But here's the problem. In the real world the Republican Party, no matter who they put in there, is not going to actually close the loop because of the president's race. 

What is it that's roiling the country right now?  It's Obamacare.  And jobs, but there's a fail-safe for that.  It's called unemployment compensation.  If you are cancelled, you know, the Democrat Party has, for decades, made people think that without health insurance you may as well be without oxygen.  And they've done a great job politically in convincing people they can't do without that.  They've got people living in perpetual fear of getting sick.  Getting sick now equals potential bankruptcy, losing everything.  And I don't mean that as just a half-baked description. 

When you fear that you might lose everything no matter how much or little it is, that is one of the most frightening things that can happen to you.  And the Democrat Party has convinced people that not having health insurance puts them dangerously close to the reality that simply getting sick, which is something you can't avoid, everybody's gonna get sick, everybody's gonna die, everybody's gonna get something someday.  You can't avoid that.  And the Democrats have made people think that when it happens to you, if you don't have insurance, you will go bankrupt.  You will lose everything.  And, as a result, it is the most important personal thing.  

That's why this Obamacare mess is as big as it is.  That is why the three years of lies this president told people about keeping their doctor if they like him, and keeping their insurance plan if they like it, their costs were gonna go down, their access was going to increase, premiums were gonna come down, copays were gonna come down, out of pocket was gonna come down, and it's just the opposite.  Premiums are doubling.  The other aspects are tripling.  The copay is going up, out of pocket is going up.  Nothing the president said was truthful.  And now these cancellations, people are being cancelled for real.  And there isn't anywhere to go that's affordable. 

HealthCare.gov does not work, even after you go there and sign up.  Now you're told you may not be signed up.  They may not have a way to prove it.  It is an abject mess. I'm telling you, this has the people of this country -- the media is never gonna tell you how much.  They can't afford to.  This is Obama's big signature issue.  But this is huge.  And it is deeply personal and it has people scared.  They were expecting the opposite.  In the midst of all this, they are now figuring out that Obama is incompetent.  He claims he didn't know the website wasn't ready?  There's nothing, there's not one thing in Obamacare, there's not one thing in American health care right now that is inspiring confidence or making people feel positive. 

It is a huge, huge deal, and as a result, that is a huge, huge opportunity for the Republicans that they are totally missing because they are afraid to go there, and they are afraid to go there because the president is African-American, and they are afraid to criticize him on anything he's done because they don't want to be called racists, sexists, bigots, or anything of the sort. 

Now, hindsight, everybody can do it. You watch somebody do something and the next day you say you can do it better.  That's easy to do, and I'm not doing that with Cathy McMorris Rodgers.  But, to me, if you're going to do a Republican response, I would think that one of the points that you would nail, you would tell people that you know what a disaster Obamacare is, you know, your own version of you feel their pain. And then you would make the point, you would drill home the point, that not one Republican signed, voted for it.  You make the point that the Republicans tried as hard as they could to stop it. 

You simply remind people what the Republican Party's position on this was all during the process.  You make the point and you take the occasion of your response to the State of the Union.  It doesn't matter what Obama has said about it.  Obviously in the State of the Union he's gonna praise it, talk about how great it is. But as a Republican, you have to know that the country is disillusioned and scared and mad and feeling all kinds of paranoia about it, plus anger. 

You've got to dissociate yourself from it.  You've got to make sure that people know you had nothing to do with it and that you want to get rid of it. And you have a plan to replace it with something, to get rid of it and either go back to the way it was or turn it over to real experts to fix or what have you. But you've got to make the point that you didn't have any role in it. 

Let me go to the audio sound bites just to illustrate something.  Frank Luntz folks group on Fox after the State of the Coup address.  This is during Megyn Kelly's program, and we got two of these.  This is Luntz.  I thought Luntz retired and then sold his company and moved to Hollywood, but here he is back on Fox with his focus group.  Anyway, this is the first of the two sound bites.

LUNTZ:  How many of you so far have a favorable impression of the president's health care plan?  Raise your hands if you're favorable towards it.  Only one.  But you voted for him.  Some of you.

MAN:  The promise is great.  The execution is miserable.

LUNTZ:  So when he talks about it, you still dial it down?

MAN:  Execution failed, horribly.

LUNTZ:  So you're telling me it's not the style, it's the substance?

MAN:  Not just the execution.  In fact, we found that now we can't keep our own doctor, a lot of choices have been removed, a lot of people's premiums have gone up.  Nothing is what we expected.  We were told we could keep our own health plan and now that's proved to be an outright lie.

RUSH:  See?  This is made to order for the Republicans to speed in there.  Now, and I'm not saying -- you could do it in a wrong way, you could do it in a way that would come off as childish and Bart Simpson-like.  You don't want to do that.  You just want to, in a mature, honest way tell people -- I would even go so far as to say: "We knew it wasn't gonna work, but we didn't have the votes to stop it, and not one of us voted for this. We did everything we could to warn people that this was going to be the result, because the government doesn't know what it's doing.  The government cannot run this for you, and we don't want to.  We want to turn it back to the experts."  Yeah, it's a little risky because people hate insurance companies and so forth, but there's a great opportunity. 

The Republicans are just not gonna take it because of the president's race. That's why the Democrats hope it's gonna be Hillary, and if not Hillary, maybe a Hispanic, because the next first ever female president, same protection.  Any criticism will be sexist.  If it's an Hispanic, first Hispanic-American president, any criticism will be racist again.  This is how they silence the opposition, silence the critics.  But to me, this is a fundamental point that Republicans have to make over and over and over again, and you can't assume that people know it.  Here's the next bite with the Luntz focus group.

LUNTZ:  What the president is asking for is patience.  Doesn't he deserve time to get it right?

MAN:  No.

LUNTZ:  Why not?

WOMAN:  I think we're all just kind of tired of it, we're exhausted.

MAN:  We've known the details of this for two years now.  It was poorly conceived.  We were lied to about what was in it.  There's been plenty of time.

LUNTZ:  How many of you say that the time is up on the president's health care plan?  Megan, take a look at this.  No matter what you say during the State of the Union address, if it doesn't resonate with the American people, you can be as passionate as you want and it's still not gonna work. And this health care plan is gonna pull the president down over the coming months.

RUSH:  And it's pulling him down now, and it's just made to order.  You've got midterm elections coming up, and this is not the time for the Republicans to propose their alternative government-run plan.  But they're just not gonna do it, for the stated reason.  Cathy McMorris Rodgers was really good in what she did.  I liked it very much.  I look at these things, the response as an impossible thing to really -- you're not gonna outshine the president no matter what.  You're not gonna have the audience.  Half of them are gonna tune out, you're gonna lose them just by the fact that they're not there. 

END TRANSCRIPT

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