Foster's Daily Democrat Editorial: Better not pooh-pooh that ad
Should Democrats continue to make light of conservatives’ efforts to tie Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to the failings of ObamaCare, they do so at their own risk come the 2014 election cycle.
As reported by The Associated Press, Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire has begun airing a tongue-in-cheek ad suggesting New Hampshire families would be reduced to serving their children a single potato chip as a side dish thanks to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's support for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law.
The ad asks those watching what they would do if their employer cut their hours to avoid penalties under ObamaCare. The ad shows a family dividing a meal for one person among four plates, with each person getting a sliver of a hamburger, a splash of milk and a single chip.
While Shaheen’s office reportedly declined an AP request for comment, Justin Barasky, speaking for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said voters rejected similar health care reform attack ads in 2012 and would do so again in 2014.
Barasky is correct about 2012. As far as 2014 nothing is certain, but we see the potential for a political hail storm.
As the ad implies, we are seeing the first signs of trouble. Employers are cutting hours in order to bolster their defenses. The viability of state-by-state health care exchanges is in doubt. And there are questions about the ability of exchanges to deliver as promised.
The Washington Post reports just one lone company — Anthem BlueCross BlueShield — willing to offer coverage through a New Hampshire health care exchange. (So much for competition and lower rates.)
In California and Oregon, there are a host of potential problems according to The Wall Street Journal.
These include plans with limited provider networks and greater cost-sharing than the typical commercial health-insurance plan. The premiums for the policies that will be offered on the states’ exchanges are much higher than analogous plans being sold today.
Unlike in 2012, the impact of ObamaCare will not be all theory in 2014. And whether the ill-effects of ObamaCare are Sen. Shaheen’s fault or not, she and fellow Democrats may well be blamed.
Supporting that notion are some numbers offered by The Associated Press.
According to the Granite State Poll conducted by the UNH Survey Center last month, 49 percent of New Hampshire adults oppose the health care overhaul legislation, 34 percent favor it and 17 percent were neutral or didn’t know enough about it to say.
If these numbers are a good reflection of voter sentiment going forward, it won’t take much bad news on the ObamaCare front to impact Shaheen’s favorability ratings, which at times just nudge past 50 percent.
Democrats also have to be concerned that 2014 is an off-year election. There won’t be the coattails of a presidential re-election bid to draw voters to the polls in droves. And chances also are voters won’t be feeling the love for Gov. Maggie Hassan that they did for predecessor John Lynch, given her failed effort on casino gambling and most likely the state budget.
None of this is to assume Sen. Shaheen will be easy to defeat. But political tsunamis, such as those in 2010 and 2012, have been known to dash the best laid plans of many a Granite State politician. Sen. Shaheen may be no different if ObamaCare finally proves to be the disaster some expect it to be.