Does anybody care that millions of Americans can't afford health care? Does anyone care that before health care reform, insurance companies had the power to screw their customers royally? Does anyone care that Americans spend more per person on health care than people anywhere else in the world but are not nearly as healthy as the citizens of nations which provide comprehensive health care coverage to their residents?
Barack Obama does and the tea party doesn't.
The most important stat that I saw in the 2012 National Election Day Exit Poll was the power of personality in the presidential race. A majority of the voters who looked for leadership, vision and shared values in 2012 supported Mitt Romney. The only other personal dimension measured by the exit poll was caring. The voters who sought compassion in their president supported Barack Obama by an overwhelming margin. The president's advantage on empathy was so big that it overwhelmed the support that Mitt Romney had on the other three personality dimensions.
Compassion brings us to the Affordable Care Act or, as I like to call it, ObamaCares.
Many Americans who oppose ObamaCares also dislike the mean spirited nature of the tea party. You can talk about issues until the cows come home, but Americans vote for people, not issues. Voters use the candidates' positions on issues to make personal judgments about their character. Many Americans may have philosophical reservations about the Affordable Care Act, but more than anything else they resent the tea party's blind opposition to any proposal that improves the quality of health care available to the public. The tea party has demonstrated its indifference to the suffering of millions of Americans by its failure to offer its own plan to improve the floundering system of health care that undermines the health, wealth and well being of the United States
Politics is full of irony, which is what makes Washington so interesting. Republicans pushed hard on the budget because they wanted to use the threat of a shutdown as leverage against ACA. But on the same day that the wacko birds forced the federal government to close with dismal reviews, enrollment in Obamacare began with such a big demand that it overwhelmed computer systems. My guess is the wingnuts don't see the irony, but do see a lot of red.
The early returns on the shutdown should worry Republicans. A CBS News survey conducted since the federal government closed for business early Tuesday morning indicates that a large majority (72 percent) of Americans oppose the shutdown over Obamacare. The tea party doesn't seem to care about its electoral fortunes any more than it does about the well being of the working families who make this country great. The party's indifference to people and politics will cost it dearly next year in the midterm elections.