The “Obamacare Referendum”

A good example of the powerful temptation Republicans are going to face when the deal goes down on keeping the federal government open is emanating from Virginia, where Ken Cuccinelli has very quickly transitioned from trying to make the gubernatorial election about anything other than an Obamacare-generated government shutdown to a “referendum on Obamacare,” the message he and all his national party surrogates are grinding away on like cicadas.

If Cooch loses narrowly (the best bet right now; the final Quinnipiac poll has McAuliffe up six, and PPP has T-Mac up seven) you will hear voices from the Right saying that if he had stuck to a consistent “I’m psychotically obsessed with Obamacare” message he’d had “energized the base” more and stolen enough crucial votes from Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis to have won.

Yeah, circumstances are definitely conspiring to lure Republicans back into another national confrontation over Obamacare implementation, much as they’d like to just stand on the sidelines and cry havoc.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.