Winning: The Individual Mandate Conversation

This week, taking a cue from arguments before the Supreme Court, conservatives (finally) got the message right on Obamacare. Rather than accepting a flawed premise or emotional appeals (“But people are dying!”) as a basis for discussion, we got right down to the message that needs to be shouted from the rooftops: The government can’t force every man, woman, and child in the country to purchase something!

Paul Clement, the attorney representing the 26 states in opposition to the bill, successfully reframed questioning from the Court’s more liberal justices to stay on point:

“MR. CLEMENT: The question that’s a proper question for this Court, though, is whether or not, for the first time in our history, Congress also has the power to compel people into commerce…”

Another point that was made during the oral arguments was echoed by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Huckabee:

“If this law is upheld, there won’t be a dividing line that will limit Congress’ power going forward. If they can make you buy healthcare insurance, they can make you buy water, food, clothing, shelter, anything…” (Forward to about 3:30 on the video linked below.)

Watch the video:

Speaker of the House John Boehner saw how effective this messaging was and dove in:

“When Democrats forced their government takeover of health care into law, it was the first time in American history that Congress had passed a law mandating that you buy something simply because you’re breathing. If the federal government thinks it can get away with this kind of power grab, it will think it can do almost anything.”

Even with all the impassioned rhetoric from celebrities and lefty pundits predicting dire consequences (death! bankruptcy!) if this bill isn’t upheld and followed through on, the conservative message appealing to Americans’ innate sense of independence is resonating: Only 34 percent of Americans recently surveyed had a favorable view of Obamacare, and 51 percent had an unfavorable view.

I am encouraged that this branding WIN is being heard from the top of the “establishment” down to the regular people on Twitter. Hopefully success breeds more success in this department!


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