I like to think people in the United States still believe in liberty, and I’ve cited some polling data in support of American Exceptionalism.
And it seems like that philosophical belief in individualism and limited government sometimes has an impact in the polling booth. According to a recent study, Obamacare was poison for Democrats in 2010.
Here’s an excerpt from a report in The Hill.
Voting for President Obama’s healthcare reform law cost Democratic incumbents 5.8 percentage points of support at the polls in 2010, according to a new study in the journal American Politics Research. The study helps explain why Democrats lost 66 House seats, significantly more than the median academic forecast of 44 to 45 seats, study co-author Brendan Nyhan of Dartmouth College writes on his blog. Democrats in the lead-up to the elections took a number of tough votes — notably on the Wall Street bailout, the stimulus and cap-and-trade — but none was as unpopular as their support for the healthcare reform law. “We show that the roll-call effect on vote share was driven by healthcare reform. Democratic incumbents who voted yes performed significantly worse than those who did not,” Nyhan writes. “We then provide simulation evidence suggesting that Democrats would win approximately 25 more seats if those in competitive districts had voted no, which accounts for the gap between the academic forecasts and the observed outcomes.”
As with any statistical study, you should take the results with a big grain of salt. That caveat aside, the conclusions of the study seem quite plausible. And since I’m not a fan of Obamacare and think the law will be much more costly than advertised, I’m not shedding any tears for politicians who lost their jobs after voting for the new entitlement.
But the 2010 election may have been a Pyrrhic victory – a short-run victory that paves the way for long-run defeat.
I think the left made a clever calculation that losses in the last cycle would be an acceptable price to get more people dependent on the federal government. And once people have to rely on government for something like healthcare, they are more likely to vote for the party that promises to make government bigger.
One of the most-viewed posts on this blog is the set of cartoons drawn by a former Cato intern, one showing how the welfare state begins and the other showing how it ends.
This is why Obamacare – and the rest of the entitlement state – is so worrisome. If more and more Americans decide to ride in the wagon of government dependency, it will be less and less likely that those people will vote for candidates who want to restrain government.
That being said, I’m not a complete pessimist. The Medicaid and Medicare reforms in last year’s Ryan budget would largely solve the problem, especially since any Obamacare subsidies presumably could be eliminated as part of such reforms.
I’m just not holding my breath that we’ll get real entitlement reform in the next four years.
Continuing my tradition of periodically sharing the good political jokes from the late-night talk show hosts (you can enjoy previous editions by clicking here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), you’ll find below the latest ones that passed the got-me-to-laugh test.
- While visiting a GM plant President Obama pledged to buy a Chevy Volt after his presidency ends in five years. Today Mitt Romney said, “Make it one year and I’ll buy it for you.”
- I think Romney’s a good man but he just doesn’t inspire people. Even his new campaign slogan: “I guess you’re stuck with me.”
- Not a good day for Rick Santorum. I haven’t seen him this depressed since they invented the birth control pill.
- It’s leap day tomorrow. This is God’s way of punishing us by making the election year even longer.
- President Obama talked about rising gas prices today. He focused on the positive things his administration has done when it comes to energy prices. So, in other words, it was the shortest speech he’s ever given.
- President Obama is starting to get a little overconfident. In an interview with Univision radio, he said, “My presidency isn’t over yet, and I’ve still got five more years.” Even his predictions are over budget.
- I saw the worst reality show last night. Have you seen this one? It’s called “The Republican Debate.”
- Rick Santorum is claiming that Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have teamed up against him. Which is kind of ironic — that Santorum can be brought down by two men forming a civil union.
- Santorum says that Satan has his sights set on the United States of America. And today Satan said he tries to avoid politics because it makes him feel dirty.
- Italian police seized $6 trillion worth of fake, worthless U.S. bonds. Let that be a lesson. If you want to try and sell worthless financial instruments, you’d better be Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. That’s the only way you’re going to get away with it.
- It’s tax time. I switched to a new tax guy and I think he’s fantastic. He wants me to establish my full-time residence in Syria.
- Every time I drive up to my new tax guy’s office, he says the same thing. “You weren’t tailed, were you?”
- Today is the 100th anniversary of the Oreo cookie. For New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, it’s a holy day.
- A new study found that government employees are the happiest workers. The study was not conducted at the DMV.
- It’s being reported that Snooki is pregnant. When Rick Santorum heard the news, he immediately came out in favor of birth control.
- Mitt Romney has accused Rick Santorum of saying outrageous things just so Santorum can appeal to the most extreme voters. Santorum denied this and said, “That’s exactly the kind of misrepresentation I’d expect from gay abortion doctor Mitt Romney.”
- As of today, Rick Santorum will be assigned Secret Service agents. This is the first time Santorum has agreed to use any kind of protection.
- Kid Rock gave Mitt Romney an endorsement. He also endorsed porn, Jack Daniels, and hepatitis C.
- Mitt Romney accused the other GOP candidates of pandering to voters to get support. Romney was like, “I would never pander to voters. I mean, unless you guys want me to.”
- President Obama is trying to come up with a new campaign slogan that would replace “hope and change.” He’s thinking of going with “I am not Mitt Romney.”
- There are rumors that Mitt Romney will ask Ron Paul to be his running mate. He was originally going to reach out to Rick Santorum. But Rick’s not crazy about other dudes reaching out for him.
- Everyone throws beads on Mardi Gras. The beads are paid for by local businessmen who ride on elaborate floats and toss little trinkets to the desperate masses in the streets. Which is also Mitt Romney’s economic plan.
- People should stop believing bizarre stories about U.S. presidents. George Washington did not have wooden teeth. Abe Lincoln did not write the Gettysburg address on an envelope. And President Obama wasn’t born in Kenya. It was Tanzania.
- Obama was going to be born in Kenya but it wasn’t socialist enough.
I can’t resist one parting shot, regarding the Conan joke about happy government workers. Of course they’re happy, since their compensation is twice as high as people in the productive sector of the economy.