Commentary Magazine


It’s Still Not the Word, It’s the Policy

At the Daily Caller, Matthew Boyle gives an update on the left’s ongoing civil war over the term “ObamaCare.” Though Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz recently blasted the use of the word on the House floor as a “violation” of congressional rules, some supporters of health-care reform still employ it. “Obamacare is WORKING,” Center for American Progress staffer Van Jones wrote on Twitter yesterday, before telling his fellow Obama supporters, “why run from the term? Luv it!” Neither Wasserman Schultz nor Rep. Maxine Waters – who once insisted that “ObamaCare” was a racist expression – responded to the Daily Caller when asked if it was now appropriate to say it.

But whether or not Democrats approve of it, the term “ObamaCare” is still regularly found on left-wing websites. And the reason is because it’s just a simple and comprehendible way of saying “the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” without writing the whole thing out every time. Many of them put it in quotation marks. For example, Steve Kornacki wrote at Salon last month that “‘ObamaCare’ is something that — if prompted — voters might object to if there are other factors (like high economic anxiety) in place that make them inclined to view the president and his policies negatively. But it won’t keep them from flocking to him if economic conditions are improving come 2012.” Others don’t even bother with that formality, like Matthew Yglesias who used the word in a Think Progress post just a few days ago.

But no matter what you call the policy, the national perception of it isn’t improving. As Peter pointed out yesterday, only 37 percent of Americans support the law, while 59 percent oppose it. With those kind of numbers, a name change isn’t going to do much to reform its image.