August is when things happen in politics. Typically, it’s a scandal, and it hurts sitting presidents and their parties. Right now, the crisis at the southern border looks to be the next big thing about to really bubble over (it’s bad now, but reports of terrible diseases among the camps could make this a lot worse). It’s a terrible situation because the Democrats were banking on immigration reform to turn this into a success story ahead of November, and the defeat of Eric Cantor in his primary more or less sealed the fate of that political tactic. But, it didn’t stop the flooding.
Now comes news of a September Surprise for the Democrats, and not one they will enjoy either. This via POLITICO:
Most state health insurance rates for 2015 are scheduled to be approved by early fall, and most are likely to rise, timing that couldn’t be worse for Democrats already on defense in the midterms.
The White House and its allies know they’ve been beaten in every previous round of Obamacare messaging, never more devastatingly than in 2010. And they know the results this November could hinge in large part on whether that happens again.
The White House is ready to combat this, of course, with strong policy that could ease the pocketbooks of Americans across the fruited plain.
Aware that state insurance rate hikes could give Republicans a chance to resurrect Obamacare as a political liability just weeks before the midterms, the White House’s internal health care enrollment outreach apparatus immediately redirected into a rapid-response, blocking-and-tackling research and press operation geared toward preempting GOP attacks on the issue.
In what aides say is a sign of a changed approach within the White House — but also heightened concerns around the midterms — they’re even coordinating with Hill Democrats, funneling localized background analysis and talking points to each state’s delegation through Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer’s Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. They’ve also relied on California Rep. Henry Waxman’s staff at the Energy and Commerce Committee to produce rebuttal reports, often in advance, on GOP claims about insurance.
“One of the lessons we’ve learned in implementing health care is to stay on it,” said Tara McGuinness, the White House senior communications adviser who has been spearheading the effort for the West Wing, reflecting on previous run-ins. “We are not going to let anyone distort the debate.”
Yes, the White House is going to fight back against the ramifications of ramming through Congress an large, flawed, and generally awful bill by attacking their political enemies, because nothing says “Fixing our mistakes” like “Propaganda!”
The rate increase will hurt Democrats most in red states with blue senators. Democrats already in tough races will have their jobs made harder come November, and barring the coming of Jesus to attend their fundraisers in October, there is nothing the Democrats can do to alleviate this struggle at the moment.