Even after dozens of attempts to repeal Obamacare, House Republicans have failed to gain much more than a symbolic victory for themselves. This failed is damaging GOP opportunities to reach independent voters that really do oppose the provisions of the Affordable Care Act and, after all those failed attempts, is clearly a strategy that is not going to work. Virginia voters seem to think that this is exactly what has been happening in Washington.
Roger Seeling,42, is married and has two pre-teens living in a modest home in rural Bedford County. that describes himself as classically independent, but fiscally conservative. He voted for Obama in 2008, but could not do so again four years later.
“Obama has been a disappointment to me and my family,” Seeling said. “I expected he would make a difference as a new kind of Democrat. Instead, he's been nothing but a repackaged version of (Democrat leader Nancy) Pelosi.”
Seeling said he was encouraged when Obamacare was first discussed, but has seen little cooperation by anyone when it comes to enacting, implementing and helping Americans. Significantly, Seeling lays the blame square at the feet of Republicans.
“Pelosi rammed Obamacare down the throats of everyone in the House. Republicans should have been outraged. The time to stop it was before it started, not years later when it's trying to roll out to the American people.”
The Affordable Care Act ruined the lives of millions of people, Seeling said. “No one expected the mess that Obama faced last year with the web site crashing. No one expected the millions of people who simply switched plans at government expense. What about all the people who had plans canceled?”
That frustration is shared by others across the commonwealth. Tracy Marcus-Martinez, 27, of Farmville said it was the government shut down that convinced her that Republicans have run out of ideas. “If shutdown is the best they can offer, we're all in trouble,” she said.
Marcus-Martinez said she has never voted for a Democrat in the past, and did not do so after she moved to Virginia early last year. “We need a viable third party in this country,” she said. “We don't have one right now that can actually win, but it's time to start working together to build that coalition...I don't know who it would be though.”
She said Obama's refusal to compromise on key issues is a problem, but “that seems to be a problem with both parties these days.” Marcus-Martinez said the Republican Tea Party members are a headache that may cost GOP the opportunity to snatch control of the Senate this fall. “Tea Party members have the right idea, but they approach it wrong,” she said. “They've got to learn to compromise sometime in order to achieve other things they was to do. They're absolutely miserable about that.”
Neither Seeling or Marcus-Martinez said they plan to vote for Democrats in the future, but both said they would consider a third-party candidate that had workable ideas and was ready to run a real campaign. “I keep looking for a new face in the GOP with a new message, but I might have to find that person in a new party,” Marcus-Martinez said.
Expectations for more progress this year are low. “I don't think things will improve until Obama is done in the White House,” Seeling said. “It's just a shame that we can't vote to recall the president in this country.” Seeling said he hoped the Republicans can win control of the Senate in November. In order to do so, the GOP must have a net gain of just six seats to take the majority, something many pundits feel is possible. If that happens, Seeling said there could be a new page in Obama's legacy.
“If the GOP grabs control of both houses of Congress, Obama will become a whole new kind of politician,” Seeling said. “The man is proud and wants a legacy to be remembered. If GOP wins Congress, he'll come around and start negotiating as the new kind of Democrat he has always seen himself as.”
Does that mean repeal of Obamacare?
“Not going to happen,” Marcus-Martinez said. “The law is already a mess. There's no way they can repeal it now. The best we can hope for is that they fix it.” She shook her head. “And that's not going to happen either.”