Here's the headline of Matt Yglesias's latest Slate piece:
The Right's Obamacare Boycott Will Only Hurt ConservativesYglesias seems to be shocked that Republican politicians and other right-wing leaders are urging people not to look into the Obamacare law's health-care subsidies. That's going to hurt rank-and-file conservatives!
Conservative leaders are trying to trick their followers into ignoring the health law's benefits.
The odds against this bamboozlement working on a large enough scale to derail the law are slim. The relevant population of twentysomething uninsured people is quite liberal, and in a war of words it will end up trusting Obama and his allies over conservative activists.Is this really "novel"? Maybe specifically urging people not to avail themselves of a program is a new political tactic, but is being "willing to sacrifice the concrete interests of their followers" anything new for right-wing leaders?
But that hardly means that conservatives won't persuade anyone: They'll end up persuading many grassroots conservatives not to participate. Trying to trick people into not exploring the potential benefits of a new government program is a rather novel tactic in American politics, perhaps because it's blatantly immoral. But conservative leaders truly believe the ACA is disastrous for the country and are more than willing to sacrifice the concrete interests of their followers to undermine it.
How does it differ from rallying the right-wing rank-and-file to oppose extending unemployment assistance in a severe recession, assistance that might help a lot of out-of-work right-wingers? How does it differ from urging right-wingers to oppose additional stimulus spending, which might have saved the jobs of right-wing cops and firefighters and teachers and infrastructure workers? How does it differ from rallying right-wingers to support turning Medicare into a voucher program for younger people, which would harm right-wingers under a certain age?
How does it differ from efforts during the Bush years to sustain right-wing support for the Iraq War, which killed and injured a lot of white troops from conservative homes? How does it differ from from right-wing cheerleading for deregulation of dangerous industries, which puts right-wing workers at physical risk, or deregulation of the financial sector, which destroys everyone's economy approximately once a decade?
Right-wing leaders are always urging the base to support policies that will harm the base. This is just one more example.