Listen To Kanye and 6 Other Resolutions Obama Needs To Regain His Mojo

Published: mic (December 31, 2013)

In the final press conference before 2014, President Obama refused to acknowledge that 2013 was the worst year of his presidency. While it wouldn’t be realistic to expect a president to admit that he’s dropped the proverbial ball, one can only hope that Obama isn’t buying his own spin. If he truly wants 2014 to be the “breakthrough year” that he promised, he only needs to make and abide by these seven New Year’s resolutions. 

1. Respect the Fourth Amendment

When Edward Snowden exposed the NSA’s unprecedented domestic spying program earlier this year, he revealed that Obama was guilty of the same sin perpetrated by the Bush administration — the egregious violation of American citizens’ Fourth Amendment right “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Although presidents are notoriously reluctant to admit they were wrong on important policy matters, Obama could regain much of the support he has lost among liberals if he owns this mistake and withdraws his support for the NSA’s excesses before it reaches the Supreme Court next year.

2. Stop allowing right-wingers to co-opt the Constitution

Of course, one of the chief difficulties in demanding constitutional fealty is that conservatives and libertarians abuse our founding document to advance their own agenda. Like the proverbial boy who cried wolf, they are so quick to denounce any progressive program they dislike as “unconstitutional” that it becomes difficult to distinguish between genuine threats to our founding principles (see above) and right-wing polemical distortions. If Obama wants to truly shake up our national debate, he should directly challenge the conservative spin, whether it’s on economic issues or gun control.

3. Trust the intelligence of the American people

There were two “scandals” associated with the roll out of the Affordable Care Act in 2013, and this resolution deals with the first one — namely, the revelation that Obama lied when he said any Americans who wanted to keep their existing insurance plans would be able to do so. Not only did this tarnish the image of a program that is still working quite well, but it unnecessarily set Obama up to be the fall guy for the insurance companies’ greed. After all, the government didn’t force these corporations to cancel policies that were inadequate to the needs of their consumers; they chose to do this instead of improving existing plans in accordance with ACA mandates. Certainly it would have been ideal for Obama to have accounted for this by using the ACA to require insurance companies to improve these pre-existing policies without raising premiums, but at the very least, he should have had faith that the American public would realize who deserved the blame if insurance companies chose profit over principle.

4. Don’t trust the intelligence of your tech people

As Tom Reimann of Cracked brilliantly explained, no one should have been surprised at the glitchiness of the ACA’s website, which was the other Obamacare “scandal” this year. Not only is the government notoriously behind-the-times when it comes to computer technology, but as Reimann points out, the Obamacare website was “designed to accommodate hundreds of thousands of people simultaneously,” something that even tech savvy companies like Blizzard (which manufactured hit video games like Diablo III and World of Warcraft) has had difficulty pulling off right out of the gate. Although the conventional wisdom dictates that Obama should have hired better IT people (a point that has some degree of merit), he should have also been honest with the American public from the beginning that these problems might occur.

5. Do better PR

Despite the widespread media outcry against Obama’s “selfie” during Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, the real scandal is not that Obama allowed himself such a light-hearted moment (especially considering the celebratory atmosphere of South African funerals), but rather that he was so careless about his public image. He should never have put himself in a situation where parties who were in the know (like the photographer who took the picture and British Prime Minister David Cameron) needed to defend his selfie. Indeed, for a president who has generally been regarded as a canny user of social media, it defies belief that he would allow himself to be put in a position where he could meet widespread ridicule, such as when this series of pictures was released that suggested a flirtatious dynamic between the president and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt to the jealous dismay of First Lady Michelle Obama:

Although anyone who has matured beyond adolescent salacious theorizing knows that the President of the United States didn’t hook up with the Danish Prime Minister at Nelson Mandela’s funeral, Obama needs to be more image conscious in the future.

6. Advocate for marijuana legalization

It’s a well-known talking point among Obama’s right-wing critics that he was elected on the abstract promises of “hope” and “change” without delivering on either one. While these charges (a) ignore Obama’s impressive record of achievement, as I’ve discussed before and (b) self-contradicting, at least when coming from the mouths of the same people who denounce the president as a radical socialist, the truth is that Obama has failed to lead on some of the most pressing issues of our time. For instance, although polls find that a clear majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana, Obama has done little on this issue aside from declining to prosecute offenders in states that have legalized recreational use of the drug. could force congressional conservatives to confront their ostensible “small government” values by pushing to legalize the drug on a federal level. What Henry Clay once wrote about the temperance movement against alcohol is as true today about cannabis: “It will destroy itself whenever it resorts to coercion or mixes in the politics of the country.”

7. Listen to Kanye West (on prison reform, anyway)

Say what you will about Kanye West, but he deserves enormous credit for attempting to draw attention to the law enforcement industrial complex in a mainstream single. As he put it in “New Slaves”:

“Meanwhile the DEA/ Teamed up with the CCA/ They trying to lock niggas up/ They trying to make new slaves/ See that’s that private owned prison/ Get your piece today.”

This is another issue in which Obama could fulfill the promise of change from his first election. Although West isn’t the first social critic to point out that the private companies which build our prisons throw their weight behind harsher drug laws so they can continue constructing new penal facilities and exploiting cheap inmate labor (creating a $70 billion market), his prominence provides Obama with an excellent opportunity to address this serious human rights problem, which effects the more than one out of 100 Americans currently behind bars (which is quadruple the number from 1980).

Watch the North Pole Lose More Than Half Its Ice in 40 Seconds

Published: mic (December 23, 2013)

Millions of people have been tricked into believing a terrible myth that’s endangering Santa Claus’ very livelihood. Those doing the tricking stand to make a lot of money from this fiction and promote it in the most devious and unscrupulous ways imaginable.

I refer, of course, to the movement that denies global warming, and see nothing wrong with rapidly melting polar ice caps.

We can start with those who are guilty of cherry picking — the logical fallacy in which they only include evidence that supports their opinion and ignore the larger body of relevant work that contradicts their conclusions. For example, while you can distort the scientific record if you only study temperature increases over random decades, Slate recently compared the misleading data peddled by deniers like the Daily Mail‘s David Rose with the findings supported by the majority of the scientific community.

There is also a much more comprehensive analysis at SkepticalScience.com.

Next we can look at the data pertaining to carbon dioxide emissions (as illustrated in the chart below from NASA’s website). Using atmospheric samples contained in ice cores as well as recent direct measurements, it shows how atmospheric CO2 has dramatically increased since the advent of industrialism.

Unfortunately, as a recent study discovered, most people don’t fully understand how global warming works, even those who believe in it. Berkeley University psychologist Dr. Michael Ranney has written an excellent paper about not only why Americans are less culturally less inclined to understand and/or believe in global warming, but how concise mechanistic explanations can help fix this. He was kind enough to work with climatologists on the website howglobalwarmingworks.org that breaks down the process of global warming in videos varying from 52 seconds to five minutes in length. If you don’t have the patience to visit this site, however, the 35-word explanation is, “Earth transforms sunlight’s visible light energy into infrared light energy, which leaves Earth slowly because it is absorbed by greenhouse gases. When people produce greenhouse gases, energy leaves Earth even more slowly — raising Earth’s temperature.”

Over the past 25 years the Arctic has lost roughly two million square kilometers of sea ice. If it continues losing ice at that rate, there won’t be any left at all by the end of the century. And that isn’t even considering the hundred billion tons of ice being lost in the Antarctic every year. All of this will result in rising sea levels, changes in currents brought on by fresh polar water being infused into salty ocean patterns, and altered ocean temperatures. It has already caused drastic weather changes, from megastorms like supertyphoon Haiyan to the Alaskan heat wave.

In case you still think this is a myth, remember that 97% of climate scientists agree with the prevailing conclusion that man-made global warming is altering our planet’s climate. Already there have been consequences that stretch far beyond Santa’s home at the North Pole. My wish this season is that people will learn from these mistakes before it reaches our doorsteps as well.

Netflix Mitt Romney Documentary Shows Never-Before Seen Human Side

Published: mic (December 19, 2013)

The official trailer for Mitt, a new documentary chronicling former Governor Mitt Romney’s six-year campaign for the American presidency, is utterly tantalizing. It is a rare, up-close look at the erstwhile candidate in his natural habitat of campaign rallies, debate stages, and awkward photo ops.

In it, the Mitt displays an astounding amount of surprise upon realizing that he is going to lose the 2012 election, despite the vast majority of independent polls at the time indicating his impending defeat. He reveals having not put any forethought into writing a concession speech and, in a tense moment, realizes he does not even have the president’s phone number.

Be moved as the film reveals the Mitt’s human traits — laughing and expressing emotion with friends and family, wrestling with his wife in the snow, crying during periods of intense stress. In this trailer, there are no signs of the Mitt pouncing on his natural prey — the so-called 47% — many of whose jobs he and his flock of vulture capitalists picked clean with astonishing machine-like efficiency.

Gaze in awe at the irony of the Mitt explaining how every major presidential nominee becomes a loser for life…and wonder if he regrets these words.

Study the Mitt’s remarkable self-awareness in realizing that he will never be able to purge his flip-flopper image, as he draws the same conclusion shared by millions of Americans at the time — that he might very well be a “flawed candidate.”

Speculate as to whether, when this is released on DVD, Little Face Mitt will appear in the cover art.

Brian Boitano Gay: Queue the South Park Ballad!

Published: mic (December 19, 2013)

By coming out as gay shortly after being appointed to the U.S. delegation to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, male figure skating champion Brian Boitano is not only standing up to the oppressive homophobic policies enforced today by host country Russia. He is also putting Trey Parker and Matt Stone to shame.

Think about it: If you’re like me, South Park: Bigger, Louder, & Uncut was the “Movie To See” when you were in high school. Even after it left theaters, it was the smartest, most hilariously subversive and iconoclastic gross-out comedy we’d seen in a long time. One of its key selling points, however, were the show-stopping musical numbers, such as the rousing pre-battle ballad, “What Would Brian Boitano Do?”

What would Brian Boitano do
If he was here right now,
He’d make a plan
And he’d follow through,
That’s what Brian Boitano’d do.

When Brian Boitano was in the olympics,
Skating for the gold,
He did two salchows and a triple lutz
While wearing a blind fold.

When Brian Boitano was in the alps, 
Fighting grizzly bears,
He used his magical fire breath,
And saved the maidens fair.

So what would Brian Boitano do 
If he were here today,
I’m sure he’d kick an ass or two,
That’s what Brian Boitano’d do. 

I want this V-chip out of me, 
It has stunted my vo-ca-bu-lar-y. 

And I just want my mom 
To stop fighting everyone 

For Wendy I’ll be an activist, too,
Cos that’s what Brian Boitano would do. 

And what would Brian Boitano do,
He’d call all the kids in town, 
And tell them to unite for true
That’s what Brian Boitano would do. 

When Brian Boitano travelled through time
To the year 3010,
He fought the evil robot kings
and saved the human race again 

And when Brian Boitano built the pyramids, 
He beat up Kubela Kong.

Cos Brian Boitano doesn’t take shit from an-e-y-body

So lets all get together, 
And unite to stop our mom’s
And we’ll save Terrance and Phillip too,
Cos that’s what Brian Boitano do.

And we’ll save Terrance and Phillip too, 
Cos that’s what Brian Boitano dooooo,
That’s what Brian Boitano do.

Unfortunately, the combined villainy of Satan, Saddam Hussein, and the Canadian armed forces shown to us in the South Park movie have nothing on the real suffering caused by Russia’s anti-homosexual laws. As my fellow PolicyMic pundit Katie Halper outlined in her brilliant article on the subject earlier this year, Vladimir Putin has banned literature that promotes tolerant ideas toward “nontraditional sexual attitudes and relations,” beaten and arrested LGBT activists and protesters, sided with neo-Nazis in their attacks on LGBT advocates, caused the firing of employees and celebrities who announce their homosexuality (including TV personality Anton Krasovsky), banned the adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples or single individuals in nations that permit same-sex marriage, and announced that their anti-homosexuality laws will be applied to foreign athletes and visitors during the Olympics.

That last one deserves special attention here. Foreign athletes and visitors – including not only Brian Boitano but American delegatio headliner Billie Jean King, who is also gay — will be expected to follow Putin’s anti-homosexual laws.

In short, Boitano just went from being a fictional hero to a real one.

10 Reasons Christmas Kicks Ass — By a Jew

Published: mic (December 16, 2013)

In the name of full disclosure: I am Jewish, and I love Christmas.

It’s pretty hard not to. How can you not feel all warm and fuzzy inside during a holiday that encourages people to spend time with their loved ones, embrace a whole canon of fascinating holiday folk lore, and create beautiful works of art?

That’s why I always find it so strange to hear that annual complaint about a “war on Christmas.” Yes, the holiday has been secularized to a large degree, but it’s not like that prevent religious Christians from celebrating in their preferred way. So long as they’re allowed to maintain their traditions, what is so terrible about expanding the yuletide cheer to those who might otherwise miss it?

Make no mistake, Christmas is still large and in charge. Here’s why.

1. Christmas moves people to rein in their worst instincts.

This one is hard to quantify, but I’ve noticed it nonetheless — people seem to be more cheerful, kind-hearted, and trustworthy during the Christmas season than any other time of year. This tendency (like most of the items on this list) applies not only to observing Christians, but even people who don’t directly observe the holiday. Good will seems infectious.

2. It gives kids the chance to be in charge.

Just as the Roman holiday of Saturnalia (which inspired many modern Christmas rituals) encouraged role reversal among its participants, there seems to be an informal rule in which children get to play boss around Christmas time. They get to miss school, eat all of the candy and junk food their hearts desire, and (of course) draw up elaborate wish lists of gifts. Speaking of which …

3. The gifts! The gifts! The gifts!

Of course this article would lose all credibility if I didn’t mention the presents. As a Channukah observer myself, I didn’t miss out on this tradition … and boy is it fun! This doesn’t mean that we should succumb to the crass materialism rightly derided by the likes of Dr. Seuss, but at the same time, there is nothing wrong with enjoying the thrill of anticipation and gratification of a perfect gift received.

4. The catchy Christmas music.

Most holidays have a sub-genre of music, but I feel safe in speculating that none are as extensive, varied, or rich as that created to celebrate Christmas. Whether you’re listening to classics like “Jingle Bells,” awe-inspiring pieces like “Carol of the Bells,” modern rock earworms like “Wonderful Christmastime,” or dark comic masterpieces like “Don’t Shoot Me Santa,” the radio is a great place to go during the holidays.

5. The great Christmas cartoons.

Whether it’s the Rankin/Bass stop motion classics, the immortal animated adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas, or more recent fare like the SpongeBob SquarePants Christmas special, there is something perfect about the synthesis of holiday themes with the art of animation. After all, there has always been something otherworldly about stories told through animated media; what better match for Christmas?

6. The colors!

This might seem abstract, but it deserves mention that there are few holidays as aesthetically pleasing as Christmas. Most have their preferred palette — Valentine’s Day with its reds and pinks, the Fourth of July with red, white, and blue, Halloween with orange, yellow, and black. But Christmas manages to include ALL of them.

7. The legendary Christmas movies (non-cartoons).

Last pop culture entry, I swear! What I particularly love about Christmas movies is how they range so dramatically in quality and tone. You get the ones that conjure up all of the sentimental and rebellious feelings of childhood, like Home Alone; the ones that tug at your heartstrings no matter how much time passes, like It’s A Wonderful Life; and the ones that are hilariously awful, like Jingle All The Way. If you find yourself bored during Christmas season, you must not own a television.

8. The libations.

What do eggnog, berry sangria, angel’s delight, and the holiday hopper have in common? Simple: They all keep the toes warm and the spirits loose at Christmas parties throughout America. If you’re over 21, this requires no further elaboration (and if you’re under 21, or planning on driving, lay off the booze).

9. The Christmas food!

I can deny it no longer: I love being invited to my friends’ Christmas parties not for the carols, the good cheer, the relaxing atmosphere, or even the off-chance a stray gift might land my way, but because I love Christmas food! While others rightly worry about gaining those dreaded post-Thanksgiving pounds, Christmas meals have just the right mixture of sweet (cookies, candy canes, sugar-doused products everywhere), savory (slow-cooked meats galore), and of course alcohol (see above) to make any Christmas meal truly worthy of the designation “feast.”

10. Family.

One of the best perks about being a non-Christian in a Christian society is that, regardless of your religious beliefs, the all-importance of family is so stressed on Christmas that even the biggest humbug proponent is forced to at least contemplate such subjects. Columnist Burton Hillis put it best:

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.”

Forget TIME Magazine — Pope Francis is This Liberal Infidel’s Person Of the Year

Published: mic (December 11, 2013)

Even as Pope Francis is honored as TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year on Wednesday, we should remember how conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and Fox News editor Adam Shaw have denounced the perceived liberal love for the new pontiff. While the individual leftists who have praised specific papal policies can speak for themselves, I figured it was time for a much broader statement on why liberal infidels (like me), who do not believe in a religion should deeply admire the Catholic leader.

1. He preaches spiritual pluralism.

When Pope Francis made waves earlier this year by saying that atheists as well as believers were capable of being redeemed, conservative Catholics were quick to point out that redemption is not the same thing as salvation. Although it is a valid distinction from a theological standpoint, it ignores the larger scope of the pope’s message. Regardless of whether he personally believes that one’s specific religious opinions are tied to one’s salvation, he has repeatedly encouraged the religious community (including not only his fellow Catholics but members of all faiths) to honor atheists who do good works in this world with the same respect given to those whose virtue comes from a belief in a higher power.

Similarly, although he largely supports church doctrine on divisive social questions like abortion, birth control, and gay marriage, he has incurred criticism in conservative quarters for refusing to focus on these issues, advocating a “church for all” instead of the smaller and purer church preferred by Pope Benedict XVI and many of his predecessors. His reasoning, though obviously directly intended for other Catholics, carries weight for all human souls: “We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us.”

2. He wants to help the needy.

It shouldn’t come as much of a shock that a Christian leader would want to devote his time to alleviating the suffering of the poor. After all, Jesus Christ is quoted many times speaking in support of the poor:

“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.”

– Luke 6:20-21

Other passages of the Bible condemn the rich who luxuriate while the poor suffer:

“Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and with you have withheld, cries out against you; and the outcry of the harvesters has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.”

James 5:4-6

Others urge the powerful to focus on the needs of the indigent:

“The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor; the wicked does not understand such concern.”

– Proverbs 29:7

And that doesn’t even touch on the passages advocating wealth redistribution.

Needless to say, liberals of all stripes enthusiastically welcome Pope Francis’ return to these values. Even when completely stripped of their ecclesiastical context, Francis’ critiques of laissez-faire capitalism are sharp and morally bold. In May he said that “unbridled capitalism has taught the logic of profit at any cost, of giving in order to receive, of exploitation without looking at the person.” And last month he slammed proponents of trickle-down economics, saying they show “a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacra­lized workings of the prevailing economic system” while “the excluded are still waiting.”

Of course, as I mentioned before, there is a third reason why liberal infidels admire Pope Francis …

3. He is a virtuous man through his deeds here and now, not his words intended for a possible hereafter.

It is true that the term “infidel” (as used here) refers to religious and irreligious convictions ranging from non-Catholic Christianity, Judaism, and Islam to paganism, Buddhism, and secularists of all stripes. At the same time, one thing all liberal infidels share is the core principle that has appeared so often in this essay — namely, that virtue is defined not by what one says or privately thinks, but by the tangible good one does in this world.

While doubting the existence of an afterlife may facilitate this conviction for atheists and agnostics, it is inaccurate to claim that it is their sole or even primary motivation, especially when so many major creeds (including branches of Catholicism like the Jesuit school in which Pope Francis studied) embrace similar values. No, liberal infidels honor Pope Francis as a virtuous man for the exact same reasons as liberal Catholics: Appreciating the complexity of cosmological questions, and thus the many different paths individuals may take in pondering them, we feel that anyone who provides real-world help for “those who have too little” deserves our esteem.

Compassionate works, whether driven by religious doctrine, philosophical ideals, or pettier emotions like ambition and vanity, are inherently good … perhaps the only kind of “good” that a reasonable man or woman can be absolutely certain exists at all. As one of the greatest liberal infidel philosophers of all time wrote when confronted regarding the motives of another virtuous man, “My God! Give us often rogues like him!”

If Nelson Mandela Was a “Terrorist” As Some Claim, Then So Was George Washington

Published: mic (December 9, 2013)

Back in the 1980s, Ronald Reagan, Dick Cheney, and other paladins of the American right labeled Nelson Mandela a terrorist.

While mainstream conservatives tend to renounce this characterization today, it still has currency in more ideologically zealous circles. Indeed, some people on Twitter are already tweeting away reiterations of the infamous “terrorist” designation. To be sure, much of this incendiary rhetoric is driven by the most craven kind of attention-seeking. At the same time, there is always the risk that some might be persuaded by this venomous misinformation.

The first (and by far most important) point is this: Mandela’s priority was ending Apartheid. As biographies have repeatedly made clear, he strongly preferred non-violent methods to violent ones, and abhorred the notion of resorting to physical force. At the same time, he did not subscribe to the philosophy of civil disobedience preached by Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King. He was a freedom fighter, not a protester, and revolutionaries fighting against tyranny often don’t have the luxury of avoiding violence. Mandela acknowledged this himself when he said, “Non-violence is a good policy when conditions permit,” but perhaps a more apt quote can be culled from one of America’s greatest founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson:

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

Unless you’re a pacifist, it is necessary to concede that if injustice and oppression reach extremes that cannot be thwarted non-violently, the evil of violent resistance is far less than the evil of continued acquiescence to wrong. And unless one is a racist (or at best historically ignorant), then it must be acknowledged that South Africa’s apartheid regime was one of the most unjust, oppressive, and morally repugnant governments to ever exist.

Under apartheid, different races were forcibly separated by law. If you were black, you had to carry special papers wherever you went, lacked the right to vote, were barred from any job that might allow meaningful, socioeconomic advancement, and were subject to casual violence, squalid living conditions, and regular humiliation from both the oppressive state and the bigotry of ordinary citizens.

When Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) in the 1940s, he did so because the organization was dedicated to ending apartheid oppression. After the ANC was banned in 1960, and nonviolent attempts to work within the framework of existing South African political institutions became impossible, Mandela advocated establishing a military wing with the ANC. Although the ANC did not officially endorse Mandela’s proposal, it agreed to not interfere with those members who chose to do so, prompting Mandela to form the Umkhonto we Sizwe. This ultimately led to his arrest in 1962, which initially resulted in a sentence of five years’ hard labor before an alleged plot by other members of Umkhonto we Sizwe to overthrow the government caused him to be sentenced to life imprisonment. He spent the next 28 years behind bars, inspiring the anti-apartheid movement with his unyielding refusal to accept anything other than complete freedom for his people.

This is not the biography of a pacifist, and while Mandela himself never claimed to have consistently practiced and preached nonviolence in his own life, others who dub him as “pacifistic” do so erroneously. It is quite wrong, however, to claim that he wasn’t a hero. After all, America exists because men like Benjamin Franklin insisted, “Even peace may be purchased at too high a price.”

We rightly adore statesmen who led both our land and others through some of history’s bloodiest wars in the name of gaining and/or protecting freedom, from our own George Washington and Ulysses S. Grant to Winston Churchill and William Wallace on the other side of the Atlantic.

If those men are to be honored, then it is unfathomable for Mandela to be denounced as a terrorist.

Why Conservatives Will Deeply Regret Coining the Term “Obamacare”

Published: mic (December 4, 2013)

One day, in the not too distant future, conservatives will deeply regret their decision to use “Obamacare” as an epithet for the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

This isn’t to say that the tactic isn’t working right now. Although polls have consistently shown that an overwhelming majority of Americans supports the ACA’s key provisions of the ACA, those same studies found a significant drop in approval once the ACA became labeled “Obamacare.” Even comedian Jimmy Kimmel demonstrated the effectiveness of the scare label’s when he interviewed Americans who opposed “Obamacare” and supported the “Affordable Care Act” without realizing that they were the same thing.

In light of the current controversies involving the glitchy health exchange website and President Barack Obama’s dishonesty about whether all Americans could keep their current insurance plans, this strategy may seem like a sound, long-term plan. After all, if the ACA becomes unpopular, its fame as Obamacare will forever tarnish not only Obama’s legacy, but quite possibly the Democratic Party’s brand as well.

The flip side of this, of course, is that if Obamacare succeeds and becomes popular, they will have done the president and his party a massive favor. And that’s where the Republicans run into a problem.

For one thing, the ACA has already solved many of the issues that caused a clamor for health care reform in the first place. It has expanded Medicare to allow seniors to receive free preventive and wellness services, required insurance companies to spend at least 80% of their premiums on actual medical services instead of using it for advertising or executive salaries, and allowed parents to enroll their children under their plans until they’re 26. Just as importantly, it has made it illegal for insurance companies to drop people from their plans after they get sick, limit how much insurance a family uses, or deny coverage to chronically ill children.

The changes due next year will be even more sweeping. By the end of 2014, the ACA will have made it illegal for insurers to deny coverage due to preexisting conditionsexpanded Medicaid to cover all individuals and families at 138% of the poverty level ($15,856 for individuals or $32,499 for a family of four), and provided tax credits, lowered copayments, and deductibles to offset insurance costs for working-class Americans ineligible for Medicaid (those who are 400% of the poverty level, which as of 2014 will be $45,960 for an individual and $94,200 for a family of four).

It will even require all insurance plans to offer 10 essential benefits, including ambulatory services, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorder care, prescription drug coverage, rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices, laboratory services, preventive and wellness services, and pediatric services, including oral and vision care.

Indeed, even many of Obamacare’s unpopular provisions are a direct by-product of these popular benefits: Health insurance plans are being cancelled precisely because companies feel they need to charge higher premiums to cover all 10 essential benefits, while the “individual mandate” penalty on Americans who don’t buy insurance exists to protect the private market, since the only way to guarantee universal health coverage (aside from socialized health care) is to make sure people don’t choose to only buy insurance when they get sick.

While the ACA may seem to be struggling now, it has another year before the 2014 midterm elections provide Republicans with an opportunity to repeal it. By that time, it is likely that the public may forget the present annoyances and start appreciating the benefits reaped by the bill.

Even if Republicans were able to win the two-thirds majority necessary to override the president and repeal the bill (which even the most optimistic pundits would agree is unlikely), Americans would no doubt oppose losing Obamacare’s benefits and will consider Obamacare not the bugaboo trumped up by right-wing ad campaigns , but rather as a positive force in their lives.

And that, I predict, is precisely the moment when conservatives will regret popularizing the term Obamacare.