March 19

Oh by the way, while Washington is debating whether enrollment in Obamacare is terrible or just awful, the Washington Examiner brings to our attention a February 2014 cost report by eHealthInsurance that reveals the premiums for private health insurance policies (those outside of Obamacare) have risen by 39 to 56 percent for individual and family plans. And The Hill’s Elise Viebeck writes this morning that “Health industry officials say Obamacare-related premiums will double in some parts of the country, countering claims recently made by the administration.” So Obamacare has resulted in higher costs, limited plans, restricted doctor options, a reduction of about 2.5 million full-time equivalent jobs and has failed to get the uninsured to actually sign up.

If Obamacare isn’t a disaster, what does a disaster look like? How could this be any worse? But a lot of liberals — including Eugene Robinson, Carter Eskew and  Kevin Drum of Mother Jones — are encouraging Democrats on the ballot in November to hunker down and promote Obamacare as a success story. I hope Democrats follow this advice. It could only serve to turn out more Republicans and independents in the midterm elections who aren’t just angry and looking for negative retribution but who want to vote affirmatively for relief from Obamacare. What could a Democratic candidate in a competitive race say that would make the growing list of horrible consequences of Obamacare seem worth it or destined to serve the public good?

To a lot of voters, the 2014 elections will be referendum on Obamacare. Candidates are either for Obamacare or against it. It is binary. No parsing or weaselly attempts at nuance will work. The best thing a Democratic candidate can do is acknowledge failure and ask for the chance to start over. Voters will probably respond better to a candidate who admits mistakes have been made and who asks for a second chance than one who continues to try and force-feed Americans a disastrous policy that is accumulating more victims than beneficiaries. Democrats should be apologizing, not doubling down.

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Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.