Here's a fundraising email we received from 2014 GOP U.S. Senate primary contender Amy Stephens, who polls show is having an unexpectedly difficult time gaining traction in the race to take on incumbent Sen. Mark Udall next year:
The news this past week that Senator Mark Udall is doubling down on his support for ObamaCare is an example of how out of touch Washington politicians have become. It has been widely reported that nearly 250,000 Colorado residents will lose or have lost their health care coverage because of ObamaCare. Despite this, Senator Udall and his Democratic allies in Washington, D.C. believe that they “will be able to use ObamaCare as an advantage.”
I am pleased that Democrats, including Senator Mark Udall, intend to run on their unwavering support for ObamaCare. The choice could not be clearer for voters in 2014. If Mark Udall returns to the Senate, he will continue to defend ObamaCare, while I will work every day to replace it. I just need your help to get there. Please consider contributing today…
There's an obvious problem with this appeal from Rep. Stephens, beyond the fact that the "250,000 Coloradans losing health coverage" claim was debunked some time ago. Here we have Amy Stephens warning that Sen. Mark Udall "will continue to defend Obamacare," and offering herself as an alternative in opposition to Obamacare.
The problem is that Republican primary voters know better.
In 2011, Rep. Stephens emerged as the chief Republican proponent of Senate Bill 200, the legislation that created the new health insurance marketplace Connect for Health Colorado. The insurance exchange is one of the major components of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act–along with the expansion of Medicaid, these were the two major public-facing pillars of the expansion of health insurance coverage as part of the 2010 landmark health care reform law.
Stephens' support for the exchange legislation met an angry reaction from "Tea Party" conservatives in and outside her district. Stung by the pushback from her right, Stephens lurched through a series of unproductive and embarrassing contradictions as she tried to insulate herself. Ever since 2011, she's overcompensated for her support for "Amycare" by calling for the repeal of Obamacare at every opportunity. Only after she survives the GOP Senate primary might she begin to say different.
And as the polls are beginning to show, Stephens can't escape her support for such a highly visible piece of health care reform in this primary. This irrevocable contradiction is the principal reason why Stephens is polling in single digits. Very much like 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who brought about health care reform in Massachusetts very similar to the subsequent Affordable Care Act, Stephens can't differentiate between the health care reform she championed before and the reform she must condemn today.
Because they're the same thing–or at least not different enough to tell.