Rich Galen

Now that Obombacare has gone from a red hot news item to a grinding series of failure stories, the cable networks have turned their attention to what it all means for 2016.

I've been on MSNBC the last two Saturdays and CNN the last two Sundays. Yesterday I was on at 3:20 pm. The Redskins game was still in the third quarter. How many people in Our Nation's Capital do you think were interested in a four-and-a-half minute chat-fest between me and Hilary Rosen?

Correct.

Zero.

But, weekend daytime cable is a good place to try out new material. It's like doing a comedy club gig in Brooklyn, Connecticut before using that material at a club in Brooklyn, New York.

Note to self. Drop the Brooklyn, Connecticut vs Brooklyn, New York joke from the act.

Every studio host - or every intern who writes copy for the studio host to read from the teleprompter thinks this is a great insight:

"If Hillary Clinton wants the Democratic nomination for the 2016 election, then it will be hers for the asking."

To which, I've taken to responding:

"Everyone said exactly the same thing in 2007 and guess what? A funny thing happened on the way to the West Front of the Capitol."

Occasionally someone will say that we didn't know about the political power that Sen. Barack Obama possessed.

To which, I've taken to responding:

"What's to say that a new, equally unknown Barack Obama isn't hiding in the political weeds in the U.S. Senate or in a State House somewhere waiting to spring him- or herself on an unsuspecting frontrunner?"

That generally ends the Hillary-is-a-Shoo-in segment of the program.

Every off-year or special election, every floor speech, every Sunday Morning interview is being viewed through the lens of what it means for the mid-term elections next November or for the field in 2016.

The short answer is … it depends.

Will the Obombacare roll-out disaster will be fixed at some point. Throw enough money and enough bodies at a technical problem and it will be improved if not solved. By the time of the mid-terms next year, Healthcare.gov will be up and running.

That doesn't deal with the greater issue: Young and middle class Americans - either or both - are going to have to pay more for health insurance they neither want nor need.

If Republicans - and this is a reeeeelly big if - don't make fools of themselves again as they did with the shut-down maneuver then the White House will keep Obombacare on the front burner by tinkering, tinkering, tinkering to try and reduce the number of people negatively affected by the ACA.

They haven't known what they are doing for the past 3½ years and there is no reason to believe the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) or the White House (WH) will get any smarter in the 11½ months between now and election day next year.

So, Obombacare will be an issue. But, it isn't going to be the only issue.

The Congress still has immigration reform, ENDA - the law that forbids discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation - plus all the annual appropriations, budget, and tax issues.

Last week there was a special election for an open Congressional seat in Louisiana. The Fifth Congressional District.

The 5th CD includes the town of Monroe, Louisiana. That is where the Robertson family lives; better known as the family featured in the highly successful reality show on A&E, "Duck Dynasty."

The winner of the special election was a Republican newcomer to politics named Vance McAllister. He beat a member of the State Senate (and also a Republican) Neil Riser.

Riser was the darling of the GOP establishment in Baton Rouge and was backed by the Tea Party wing.

McAllister had the advantage of (a) being a very successful businessman and could self-fund his race and (b) having the vocal support of Phil Robertson, the godfather of the Duck Dynasty er, dynasty.

Anyway the theory was the McAllister/Riser race was a clue of things to come except that nobody much agreed on what that clue was.

I helped out by suggesting that having Phil Robertson endorse an otherwise unknown candidate was probably a good thing, but only if you could arrange for the turnout to be 19 percent - which it was.

Keep this in mind: Nobody has a political Hubble telescope strong enough to be able to peer three years into the future. Nobody.

Note to self. Leave the Political Hubble Telescope line in.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.