Think about some common parental fears:
- My child will be gay and/or want to marry someone of a different race.
- My child will get pregnant, or make someone pregnant, and an abortion will be needed.
- My child will have a childhood illness like Juvenile Diabetes or Epilepsy, or have a traumatic injury, that they will carry into their adult life.
Of these three fears, voting for a world where (1) and (2) are no big deal can be easily rationalized away:
- I will raise my child the right way and they won’t be gay, or marry someone from a different race. So, I’m free to vote for racist homophobes because this issue doesn’t affect me.
- If a pregnancy does happen, I know there will never be enough votes to overturn the right to an abortion, and I know I’ll always have enough money to buy one, so my pro-life vote doesn’t matter.
But it’s pretty hard to wish away (3). You can’t control whether your child is going to fall from a swingset and hit his head, or be run over by a car, or have a pancreas that doesn’t work right. If health insurance is denied for people with pre-existing conditions, anyone’s child runs the risk of losing healthcare, long after the parent has passed from the scene.
The minute Obama signs the bill, the Democrats can say that health insurance cannot be denied for a pre-existing condition, and that they had to fight every single Republican for this right. That message is simple, it hits people where they live, and it addresses a universal concern.
The commercials cutting from a kid with diabetes to John Boehner yelling “Hell No You Can’t” are probably already being made. They will be the Willie Horton ads of the 2010 election.