The Insiders: For Democrats, dark days ahead

November 15, 2013
President Barack Obama pauses while speaking about his signature health care law, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. Bowing to pressure, President Barack Obama intends to permit continued sale of individual insurance plans that have been canceled because they failed to meet coverage standards under the health care law, officials said Thursday. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Obama speaks to members of the media about the Affordable Care Act. (Charles Dharapak/Associated Press)

Is the president’s Obamacare “fix” part of the Obama administration’s pattern of deceit or a product of its frequent delusion?

A cursory discussion with almost anyone who knows anything about the insurance business would have alerted the president to the fact that his proposal is unworkable. The initial take from experts on both the right and the left is that the president did not fix anything yesterday. Insurance industry experts agree that the very idea that canceled health policies can be renewed or extended for one year is laughable — especially with the cumbersome rules that would have to accompany any such temporary reinstatements or extensions. One must assume the White House consulted experts before President Obama announced his plan. So we can rule out delusion. Surely this was an informed decision … right?

Meanwhile, this is the administration that felt compelled to affirmatively announce twice on camera in the past week that they are “not stupid.” Well, if Team Obama is so certain they aren’t stupid, maybe they think we are all the stupid ones. Or, maybe the president thinks he can sell this to the American people — deceiving them at least until after the 2014 elections.

But the tide has not shifted: Democrats could soon conclude that blaming Republicans for depriving 48+ million Americans of health care is better than having 114+ million American households furious at your meddling with their health insurance and ridiculing your hallmark accomplishment.  The big punt is still possible. There is a chance Obamacare could be repealed in a bipartisan vote.

Republicans can’t hide their glee, and I’ll admit to a little friendly piling on. But, Republicans can’t be certain of a blowout at the ballot box next November.  Twelve months is a long time, and I fear the Democrats may be in too much trouble too early. The Democrats are on notice and they won’t be caught napping. Also, it is plausible that the horrors of Obamacare will be exhausted in time to blunt some of the blow Democrats would be dealt if the midterm elections were held today.

Again, the Democrats know they are in trouble, but they will eventually find their footing and begin to defend themselves — with or without help from the White House. And let’s not forget, despite his recent low poll numbers, this president still has a reservoir of goodwill, and we could see many voters rally back to him in 2014. The president could even benefit from some pity and underdog status if things get much worse.

Now we are headed into the holiday season, when families will get together and trade stories of the personal turmoil they’ve experienced thanks to the president and his Democratic allies. Very few will share happy tales of satisfaction with Obamacare or anything else the president is doing right now.

Yes, things will ultimately get better, but the president and his allies are in for a long, cold winter.

Follow Ed on Twitter: @EdRogersDC

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Carter Eskew | November 15, 2013