Braley Votes Again For Obamacare—Why This One Was Worse Than The First

Bruce B.Yesterday the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted once again to repeal Obamacare in full—a vote that passed 229-115 on party-lines besides two democrats who crossed over.  Not the least bit surprising was that Rep. Bruce Braley once again voted in favor of Obamacare—but my how much different this must have felt than his first vote for it three years ago.

A Different Landscape

Besides the obvious fact that Braley is now a U.S. Senate candidate, a variety of things made yesterday’s vote a much bigger political gamble.

Consider this, on the day the Senate passed Obamacare through the Reconciliation process—March 25th 2010—the Real Clear Politics approval rating for Congress was a shocking 17.4% approve to 77% disapprove.  As bad as that seems, at that time in 2010 there was still a residue of “change” excitement in the air, the Tea Party was only just forming, Democrats had not yet lost the House, and President Obama could still credibly make the argument (especially to Independents) that he had successful solutions to the nation’s problem.

Since that day however the absolute failure of the trillion-dollar Stimulus Bill has been fully revealed, the implementation of Obamacare has been continually problematic, the economy has not recovered, and the national debt has further ballooned.  And this is not even to mention the numerous scandals and mini-scandals that have surrounded the administration for the past week and a half.

Perhaps even more troubling for Braley’s Senate candidacy is that the mood of the public is remarkably similar to the grim view they had the day Obamacare passed.  The following are the RCP polling averages from then and now: Congressional approval on March 25th 2010 was 17.4% approve to 77% disapprove—Congressional approval from 5 days ago on May 9th stood at 16.8% approve to 76% disapprove.  Public approval of the Obamacare legislation one day after it passed on March 26th 2010 was 50.7% oppose to 39.4% support–and 8 days ago on May 9th it was 49.8% oppose to only 39% who support.

2014 Impact

For Braley’s purposes what perhaps will be the biggest difference from then and now is he has left the friendly confines of Iowa’s 1st Congressional district (D+ 27,356) and has entered a statewide contest (D+ 4,952).  On top of this he has just voted in favor of one of the largest and most expensive initiatives in American history—one which only 39% of the public currently support. 

Braley no doubt believes in this legislation to his core and will never vote against it.  Nevertheless it’s a safe bet that as he pushed the “nay” button yesterday he was keenly aware that the circumstances had changed drastically since his first vote on the legislation.  What has transpired since then has not been kind to the bill nor to any purple state legislators voting for it. 

Though President Obama and many Congressional Democrats were not held accountable for their economic and policy failures in 2012, at some point their luck will run out.  If in November 2014 Obamacare still can’t even muster 40% support and implementation keeps getting more and more messy–the Republican who emerges to challenge Braley will need less and less luck.          

About the Author

Mr. Arnold is a long time constitutional conservative. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from the University of Iowa. Over the last few years he has been involved in numerous political campaigns, most recently serving as campaign manager for an Iowa House candidate and serving as a city chair for Tom Latham. He is self-employed, running a small business in Ankeny, Iowa where he resides with his wife.

 

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