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October 6, 2013

HOWEY: A new level of public service for Hoosiers

You know, I really hate the speed limit on Interstate 65, so instead of going 70 mph, I plan to go 95 mph.

And if Mr. Trooper, Sir, stops me, I think I’ll get some of my friends and we’ll block the all the lanes and shoulders until they raise the speed limit.

There were two profoundly intertwined stories this week - the shutdown of the federal government and the launching of Obamacare.

In Washington, the Republican hatred of the Affordable Care Act has become so intense that lawmakers like Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Indiana U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman were willing to put this nation on the path of a shutdown and default.

The reason can be summed up on the Real Clear Politics website which lists 243 polls taken on Obamacare since its passage and 95 percent of those polls (231 of 243) have shown that the American people oppose the ACA.

But it’s more nuanced than that. Ball State’s Bowen Center and other polls have broken out components of the ACA — such as whether people with pre-existing conditions should be able to get health insurance — and the support rises, often into the 60th percentile and beyond.

The two polls that really mattered occurred in November 2010 and November 2012 when citizens went to the ballot box. In 2010, Republicans retook the House, picking up 66 seats. Two years later, President Obama was reelected and with that, Obamacare was pretty much a reality until Jan. 21, 2017.

Reinforcing this was what happened in the U.S. Senate. Populist Tea Party candidates who won U.S. Senate nominations in low-turnout primaries essentially propelled safe or heavily leaning Republican seats in Indiana, Delaware, Colorado, Missouri, Nevada and Maine into the Democratic column. What could have easily been a 51-49 Republican Senate majority last November became a 55-45 Democratic one. Joe Donnelly, who voted for the ACA, is now Indiana’s Democratic senator.

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