When the White House wants someone on the Sunday shows to deny that anything at all is wrong (e.g., the Internal Revenue Service scandal, Benghazi) they usually send out Dan Pfeiffer. (There are probably some things that not even Susan Rice would be willing to say.) The White House did it again on Sunday to argue — so incredibly even his former colleague Robert Gibbs pooh-poohed it — that the Dems would keep the Senate; there is no electoral problem with Obamacare (not even in the Florida-13th!) and the president would be needed far and wide to keep the Senate majority. Such is the life of a shameless spinner.
Pfeiffer also asserted on Meet the Press that the loss of doctors — because patients are shuffled into plans with less generous choices of doctors and hospitals — wasn’t the president’s problem. (“Insurance companies make decisions about what doctor is in your network. That was true before Obamacare. That’s true after Obamacare. There’s nothing in Obamacare that’s going to cause — mandates an insurance company make any change around doctors. That’s a decision for insurance companies because Obamacare is built on the private insurance system.”) A more aggressive host would have asked why it was then that the president and all those senators promised Americans they could keep their doctors.
Back in the real world, the liberal nostrums on which eager liberal pundits clung for so long are crumbling. Remember that Scott Brown’s career was dead and there’d be no more moderate candidates able to run in swing states? “Goodbye to the Scott Brown era,” declared the New Republic. It instructed us just about a year ago: “Times, quite simply, have changed. Not only did Obama win reelection, but it is the other party that is now on the wrong side of the general public mood on any number of issues, from the fiscal morass to guns.” Well, the times changed again, it seems. Gibbs essentially called Pfeiffer a liar for his happy talk:
GREGORY: Is the Senate in danger?
MR. GIBBS: Definitely.
MR. GIBBS: Absolutely. There’s…
GREGORY: How come Dan Pfeiffer didn’t say it?
MR. GIBBS: Because I — I did the same thing a few years ago on your show… Honesty, you can only go so far in Washington when you’re employed.
Hey, birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, White House aides gotta lie, says the man who advised the candidate he would change politics.
So now, for now, Republicans are on the right side of the issue, they have candidates like Scott Brown (again!) running in strong states and ailing candidates like Sen. Mark “You’re-not-entitled” Pryor (D-Ark.) trying to defend a red state where the president is hugely unpopular. Alas for Pfeiffer and his boss, they’ve come up against realities that are not spinnable.
Now the Dems’ favorite rationalization for Senate optimism is that the GOP will be vulnerable because they don’t have an Obamacare alternative. Sigh. In fact there are a number of credible replacements, and the House is likely to reach consensus on one. By the way, where is the plan to “fix” Obamacare? When the Democratic Senate comes up with one and passes it, we’ll know the Dems have figured out how to protect themselves. Sending Pfeiffer out to say silly things just isn’t going to do it.