January 23
HealthCare.gov (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)
HealthCare.gov (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

If you looked at today’s headlines and had to advise Republicans on the 2014 midterm elections, you might give them the wrong idea. The anti-Republican media is working overtime to convince voters that the Republicans are wounded and in disarray. They are contorting themselves to keep the story about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) in the news and no doubt will linger over every detail of the personal downfall of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell (R) and his wife. Meanwhile, the media flatter the pointless gubernatorial campaign of Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democrat. But if you look at the facts — and ignore the media hype — you will see the real drivers of votes in November will be the economy and Obamacare. Even as the liberal media try to quietly usher these twin embarrassments off the front pages, recent developments can’t be encouraging to Democrats — starting with today’s Quinnipiac poll, which shows that 56 percent of Americans disapprove of how President Obama is handling the economy and only 36 percent approve of how he is handling Obamacare.

We take fleeting comfort in the occasional economic indicator that isn’t awful, but the reality is that growth is stagnant, at best, with gross domestic product growth likely to remain between only 2 percent and 2.5 percent. And more than 23 million American households – 20 percent – rely on food stamps. The Washington Examiner published part of a memo by Wall Street adviser David John Marotta, who reminds us that, “officially reported unemployment numbers decrease when enough time passes to discourage the unemployed from looking for work.” And “discouraged” seems to describe how many Americans feel. Marotta also calculated that the misery index — today’s true unemployment rate plus the true inflation figure — is 14.7 percent, the worst in 40 years.

And Obamacare is not making things better. There are plenty of commentators on the left who want to declare that Obamacare has taken root, is working and is here to stay. But so far, the data the administration has released about Obamacare enrollments suggest that people are signing up because their insurance policies — the ones they liked and were told by the president they could keep — were canceled because of Obamacare. Yesterday, in what seems to be a growing trend, we learned that Target no longer will offer health insurance to its part-time workers. This is just another example of how Obamacare is not only failing in its goal of providing health insurance to the estimated 45 million Americans who don’t have it, but is, for the time being, increasing the number of uninsured Americans.

Megan McArdle of Bloomberg News wrote a smart piece this week, saying that Obamacare is actually beyond rescue because “the original vision of the ‎law will not be fulfilled — the cost-controlling, delivery-system-improving, health-enhancing, deficit-reducing, highly popular, tightly integrated (and smoothly functioning) system for ensuring that everyone who wants coverage can get it” and because “the law still lacks the political legitimacy to survive in the long term.”‎‎ And Obamacare is deeply unpopular among voters.

Oh, and by the way, while nobody was paying attention? In the latest GWU/Battleground generic ballot poll, Republicans are up by 2 percent. While everyone talks about how unpopular Congress is, we don’t hear a lot about how some of the most recent generic ballot polls favor Republicans.

There is no political front that looks particularly promising for the Democrats, and on what really matters — the economy and Obamacare — things appear to be getting worse.

Follow Ed on Twitter: @EdRogersDC