So said Nancy Pelosi in response to the Great Democrat Panic of 2013 over the general public’s reaction to the realities of Obamacare.
Democrats are in a tizzy, feigning shock and indignation because the law is doing precisely what it was designed to do – kick people off of their existing insurance plans in order to subsidize the new government insurance scheme, despite Obama’s promises to the contrary. Worse, the same government that managed to put a man on the moon (several times) and can read your emails, text messages and listen in on your phone calls can’t build a website to sell insurance.
About the only thing that could make it worse would be if using the website gave you rickets.
The panic dam officially burst when Bill Clinton gave worried Democrats cover to bail on Obama by saying “the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to these people and let them keep what they got.” Within days thirty-nine House Democrats ignored a White House veto threat and supported a Republican bill to allow insurance companies to continue selling the old policies.
As a famous Chicago pastor might put it, Obamacare’s political chickens are coming home to roost.
Even before the fiasco with the website Americans have been split over Obamacare, with those opposed to it outnumbering those in favor of it in most every poll conducted since the law was passed.
According to the latest Quinnipiac poll, just a month ago both Obama and Obamacare were at about 45% approval; today they’re both at 39%, the lowest ever. Only 36% of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of health care in general, and 54% disapprove of his overall job performance. The same poll shows 52% of Americans agreeing that he isn’t trustworthy, and 56% say that he is incompetent. Worse yet, both Obama and his namesake law are upside-down among the 18-34 year old crowd that put him in the White House to begin with.
More amazingly, the latest Gallup poll shows a record 55% of Americans do not believe that it’s the federal government’s responsibility to provide everyone with health care – up from just 28% in 2008.
It turns out Joe Biden was right, it really is “a big ___ing deal”.
The problem for Democrats is that these numbers aren’t being driven by clever Republican messaging, but rather by the implementation of Obamacare itself.
So far over five million policies have been cancelled, while just over one-hundred thousand people have managed to get insurance through the new program, (with the vast majority of them actually signing up for Medicaid). But the number of people losing insurance now pales in comparison to the tens of millions more who will lose theirs when the employer mandate kicks in a year from now. Further, even the White House now admits that the “better” Obamacare policies chock full of things people don’t want (such as maternity coverage for men) costs more than their old “sub-standard” policies, (despite Obama’s other promise that the average family would save over $2,500 per year).
Of course the Democrats now running like scalded dogs are the same ones who voted for the law and stood by Obama when he said “If you like your plan, you can keep it”. In fact, many of them were saying the exact same thing, (which will make wonderful commercials in 2014).
The political damage goes deeper than the next election and extends to liberalism itself.
Setting aside the current debate, how many other big-government schemes are voters likely to shrug their shoulders at, or will Democrats in competitive seats embrace anytime soon?
It should be pointed out that part of the political strategy of Obamacare was to have government provide a tangible, personal benefit to voters in hope that they would see how great big government could be. But every cancelled plan, every rate hike, every deductable hike and every lost access to a personal physician is a personal story some potential voter will be sharing with other potential voters between now and next November.
Obamacare is the biggest, most personal opportunity Republicans have ever had to make the case against big government liberalism. It feeds perfectly into a strategy of focusing on issues with a liberty oriented message. To remind voters that elections matter, and that the people who bungled both the creation and implementation of this law are the same people who want to run other aspects of our lives, rather than leave us free to do it ourselves.
Democrat National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Shultz recently told CNN, “You’re darn right that our candidates are going to run on the advantage that Obamacare will be going into the 2014 election. The choice will be very clear.”
The challenge for Republicans is to make sure that it is.