Smugness is obnoxious. Since the failed ObamaCare rollout, there have been a lot of smug Republicans.
They gleefully recount healthcare.gov horror stories—hours spent on the site without being able to sign up—and people who haven’t been able to keep their plans, period. Contrary to the pervasive joy in Conservative circles, these aren’t good things.
The average American may not have been a huge fan of the Affordable Care Act when it passed, but now that it’s law, they’d like it to work properly, make their lives easier. They’re worried. It seems like their government can’t do anything right. Their country appears to be faltering.
They look around for an alternative, someone to rescue them from this leaderless chaos, and what do they see? Republicans with sh**-eating grins on their faces taking triumphant turns on talking head shows. We don’t look like the better option.
If Republicans don’t change our behavior and attitude, we will squander the opportunity to right the terrible wrongs of Obama’s presidency. We can’t dance in the end zone.
We need to let people know that we don’t want to win for the sake of winning. We want to provide constructive solutions to improve their lives. Sometimes, those solutions are just to get government out of the way, a point Obamacare is effectively illustrating for us.
We have to say, “I know you’re frustrated and disappointed the health care law is not working, we are too and here’s what we’d like to do to make it better.” Or, “I recognize that aspects of Obamacare—letting young adults stay on their parents’ plan until age 26 or enabling people with pre-existing conditions to get coverage—really help your family, but we think there’s an even better way to help you and others, and here it is.”
As Republicans, we have the better ideas. If we truly want the American people to give us the chance to prove it, we’d better shape up.