When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, Republicans had what they thought was a brilliant idea. Re-label the program Obamacare and let it hang like an albatross around the President’s neck.
Well, the label stuck and now President Obama is wearing it like a Badge of Honor. Rather than refute the name, he has embraced it. On July 17th, in San Antonio, Texas, he addressed a cheering crowd with these words: “The Affordable Health Care Act — otherwise known as Obamacare — was the right thing to do. And you know what, they’re right, I do care. I care about folks who get sick and go bankrupt. I care about parents who don’t know whether or not they’re going to be able to get treatment for their kids. It was the right thing to do.”
The President has used the term increasingly in the past several months, so other Democrats have taken to using it in a manifestly positive way as well–speakers who introduce Obama at campaign stops, Vice President Joe Biden when he sends out fundraising appeals, and the re-election campaign’s online store, which sells “I Like Obamacare” t-shirts, bumper stickers, and buttons.
According to the New York Times, the term was first coined by–guess who? None other than Mitt Romney himself. Elspeth Reeve of The Atlantic magazine researched its first use by a politician and found it in a quote by Romney in 2007, who was trying to describe the Democrats’ approach to healthcare as radical. “It’ll be what’s known as Hillarycare or Barack Obamacare or whatever you want to call it,” he said.
Way to go, Mitt! Sticking your foot in it before Obama was even elected President. What better way to emphasize that Obama really cares and you, uh…don’t. (And what a precursor to the verbal suicide you continue to commit.)
Like the association of the New Deal with Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Great Society with Lyndon B. Johnson–and the tax breaks for the wealthy are the Bush Tax Cuts–healthcare reform is Barack Obama’s baby. And what a proud papa he is! Unlike Roosevelt and Johnson, he’s even blessed it with his name.