Here’s what the new health-care law isn’t: iTunes . Or Amazon . Or Travelocity . Or a seat-belt-less car . Here’s what it is: a massive political problem for President Obama and Democrats running for re election in 2014.
That reality became clear this past week as Obama tried unsuccessfully to analogize and apologize himself out of a corner.
Facing mounting pressure from endangered Democrats in the House and Senate, Obama delivered a speech and hosted a news conference/talk-a-thon Thursday in which he acknowledged that he has “fumbled” the health-care rollout and that he is not a perfect man nor a perfect president. He said he will allow people to keep their health insurance, even if it doesn’t meet the law’s minimum requirements, until the end of 2014. (That the deadline will fall after the midterm elections is sheer coincidence. Wink, wink.) He acknowledged that HealthCare.gov will not be fully operational by the administration’s self-imposed Nov. 30 deadline.
And then there was this gem, on his disproven pledge that if you like your insurance, you can keep it: “The way I put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate.”
If Obama’s news conference was designed to calm the nerves of Capitol Hill Democrats and blunt the attacks of Capitol Hill Republicans, it did neither.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who just happens to be running for reelection in a state where Obama won only 41 percent of the vote last year, said she will continue to push a legislative fix that would ask insurers to revive plans that have been canceled because they fell short of Affordable Care Act standards. (Forget that such a move could torpedo the law.)
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) went the understated route. “The president has absolutely no credibility on his promise,” he said in a statement.
President Obama, for riding without a seatbelt on an analogy train to nowhere, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
Have a candidate for the Worst Week in Washington? E-mail Chris Cillizza at email@example.com.