If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Obama embraces ‘Obamacare’

Ever since he launched it, President Obama’s health care reform program has been slammed by its critics as 'Obamacare'. Now Obama's reelection campaign has adopted the term.

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
A man hides from the rain under his sign at a Tea Party Patriots rally calling for the repeal of the 2010 healthcare law championed by President Barack Obama, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Saturday. The Supreme Court will hear arguments next week over the fate of Obama's healthcare law.

Ever since he launched it two years ago, President Obama’s health care reform program has been slammed by its critics as “Obamacare.”

Republicans hate it. Their presidential hopefuls sneeringly vow to kill it their first day in office – no more so than Mitt Romney, whose health care program when he was governor of Massachusetts became the model for Obama’s. Some states are suing to block the individual mandate – a case the United States Supreme Court takes up Monday.

If there’s an equivalent on the Democratic side – a derisory label tossed about in hopes that it’ll stick – it’s the GOP’s alleged “war on women.”

But nothing has had the effect of rallying conservative troops and annoying the political opposition – in this case the White House and Democratic lawmakers who passed (to use its proper name) the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – than “Obamacare” (or “ObamaCare” if you wish).

But now, in what might be seen as either chutzpah or a wimp-out, Obama and his reelection supporters have fully embraced the term.

On Friday, the Obama campaign emailed supporters: “Today is the two-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. Since then, the law that almost everyone calls Obamacare has been doing exactly what the other side has hoped it wouldn’t do: It’s been working. It’s about time we give it the love it deserves.”

From his Twitter account, Obama’s reelection campaign tweeted: “Happy birthday to Obamacare: two years in, the Affordable Care Act is making millions of Americans’ lives better every day.” And just to make it clear, a subsequent tweet read: “If you’re proud of Obamacare and tired of the other side using it as a dirty word, complete this sentence: #ILikeObamacare because…”

At a fundraiser at the Tyler Perry studios in Atlanta last week, Obama also used the term and said he doesn’t mind it because it shows he “does care,” reported Devin Dwyer at ABC News.

“Change is, yes, health care reform,” Obama said to applause. “You want to call it Obamacare – that’s okay, because I do care.”

And why shouldn’t he use the term?

As Greg Sargent of the Washington Post writes, “The simple fact is that this law is Obama’s number one domestic achievement. It is his. It is Obamacare.”

So now that Obama and friends are happy to boost “Obamacare,” does that mean opponents will drop what they always used as a slur? Not hardly.

Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin likens Obama’s health care program to a “mythical Hydra with its unconstitutional agencies.”

“Obamacare is a real Washington monster whose countless hidden bureaucracies keep sprouting forth even after they’re rooted out,” she writes in her latest column.

A web site called “ObamaCare Watch” says, “Instead of attacking the primary problems – lack of portable insurance owned by the policy holder and costs driven upward by excessive federal subsidization – ObamaCare leaves the flawed policies in place and attempts to coerce coverage of the remaining uninsured with a heavy-handed governmental structure.”

On Monday (the day the Supreme Court takes up Obamacare), the conservative group Americans for Prosperity is hosting a “Hands Off My Health Care” rally in Washington “to demonstrate our resolve to end ObamaCare.”

“We MUST ensure that the Supreme Court and all of establishment Washington know that Obama's healthcare takeover is an affront to liberty, to free-market principles and to our Constitution and that WE THE PEOPLE REJECT OBAMACARE, AND WANT IT GONE,” declares an invitation to sign a petition to lawmakers.

So now that Obama is OK with “ObamaCare,” does this mean it’s safe for Romney to embrace “Romneycare,” as his GOP rivals labeled his Massachusetts program? Don’t count on it. 

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