Conservatives want you to believe that Democrats are running away from Obamacare everywhere, despite mountains of evidence that a) it's just not true, and b) the politics of Obamacare are complex, and changing before our eyes. Here is a particularly intricate contortion, in response to a new radio ad from Senator Kay Hagan.
"The point is to accuse [GOP Senate candidate Thom] Tillis of hypocrisy in attacking her over something he allegedly 'praised,' but the first time I listened to it I thought she was attacking him simply for calling O-Care 'a great idea' in the first place. And no doubt that’s how many listeners will take it—and Team Hagan knows it, and is just fine with it. Essentially, she’s trying to maneuver Tillis around into being the pro-ObamaCare candidate so that she can posture as a quasi-anti one."
You can listen to the ad here.
I'm not here to provide cover for Hagan taking Tillis out of context, though as far as using decontextualized quotes in politics goes, this ranks, way, way below "You didn't build that," which was more or less the theme of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Suffice it to say, Kay Hagan is much more pro-Obamacare than Thom Tillis, who would be a reliable vote to undermine it.
But the above analysis is laughably bad. Hagan's not playing for the anti-Obamacare vote. She's trying to get GOP base voters to hand the nomination to someone other than Tillis. This is textbook. It's probably why Harry Reid, Claire McCaskill and other Democrats are still senators, and it speaks not to Democrats' policy vulnerabilities but to the continuing (though perhaps waning) problems national Republicans have getting electable Senate candidates nominated in swing states.
Brian Beutler is a senior editor at The New Republic.