posted at 12:40 pm on March 24, 2012 by Karl
As noted by the WSJ (and others):
The term “Obamacare” started out as a derogatory name that opponents of the 2010 health overhaul used when they criticized the law. But on Friday, President Barack Obama signaled he’s trying to reclaim the moniker for those who like the law.
“Happy birthday to Obamacare: two years in, the Affordable Care Act is making millions of Americans’ lives better every day,” read a message from the president’s Twitter feed on Friday, the two-year anniversary of his signing of the insurance-expansion law. Then he tweeted: “If you’re proud of Obamacare and tired of the other side using it as a dirty word, complete this sentence: #ILikeObamacare because…”
To lefty chagrin, the hashtag was quickly taken over by conservative mockery; most of the supportive tweets were Astroturf from elected Democrats (though not — afaik — Dems facing tough races this year). But notice the internal contradiction in the WSJ lede — if Obamacare “started out” as a derogatory name, can it be reclaimed? In reality, there was a school of thought on the left that embraced the term “Obamacare” at first, thinking it was great to use a president with approval ratings in the sixties as the face of the legislation. It was only after the politically toxic initiative began to sink Obama — and many other Dems with him — that even the better White House reporters like Jake Tapper would cave to progressive complaints about the label.
Obamacare remains unpopular, so why the effort by Dems to reclaim the term now? Obama originally planned to avoid marking the two-year anniversary of the law as they would have done if it was popular. However, Democrats likely realized they could not abandon the field as the Supreme Court prepared to hear argument against Obamacare next week. And if they persist past next week, the rebranding effort may give a clue about how Team Obama plans to campaign against most-likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney.