By "he," this unnamed rank-and-file Democrat means President Obama, of course -- and the answer isn't complicated. The president is arrogant, hyper-ideological, and bad at his job. Congressional Democrats can be excused for feeling burned by the White House's comprehensive botch job on Healthcare.gov, but the other more substantive policy consequences shouldn't come as a surprise. Dumped coverage and higher costs were always part of the deal. Telling the electorate that Obamacare contained neither trade-offs nor losers was nothing more than an overtly political ploy designed to create just enough political space to marshal the votes to jam the bill through. Democrats with a brain understood this and played along with the cynical charade. Others mindlessly took the president's lies at face value, saluted, and voted the party line. The belated wake-up call has been rude for some:
President Barack Obama’s credibility may have taken a big hit with voters, but he’s also in serious danger of permanently losing the trust of Democrats in Congress. The Obamacare debacle has been bad enough that it’s tough for Democrats to take on faith that the president can fix the problems. His one-time allies are no longer sure that it’s wise to follow him into battle, leaving Obama and his law not only vulnerable to existing critics, but open to new attacks from his own party. “I don’t know how he f—-ed this up so badly,” said one House Democrat who has been very supportive of Obama in the past.
As Jonah Goldberg says, the Obamacare schadenfreude is delicious. Conservatives experience no glee over the pain this failed law is visiting upon the country, but the utter panic spreading like a cancer among the bad actors who foisted it upon an unwilling public is, admittedly, quite sweet. It's vindication for those who were slimed as smear-merchants, liars, or even racists for anticipating precisely what's happening. Democratic Senators, who certainly knew better, are now feigning surprise over the inescapable results of the law they've championed. Some are straight-up claiming that they didn't see any of this coming, while others are still forging ahead with legislative "fixes" so they can pretend they're doing something to rectify the myriad problems. But some problems cannot be spun or tweaked away. As it became clear that the president was flailing badly during his press conference yesterday, vulnerable members began telling reporters that his "solution" -- which threatens the sustainability of his entire law -- wasn't good enough. Thus, a struggle is about to play out in the upper chamber between Senators who desperately want to get their pandering on the record, and leadership, which wants to protect the White House and guard against potentially damaging Republican amendments. As that battle plays out, liberals in the media are handwringing. A New York Times news analysis summoned the worst insult imaginable to Times readers by comparing Obama to his predecessor. Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus concluded her scathing piece with this blunt verdict:
Listening to the president Thursday was painful. He acknowledged the need “to win back some credibility.” He “fumbled the rollout” of health care. He is “letting?.?.?. down” congressional Democrats who took the risk of supporting Obamacare. Although he’s sometimes been “slapped around a little bit unjustly,” the president said, “This one’s deserved, all right? It’s on us.” Can he recover? I’m sorry to say: I’m not at all confident.
Standing in the path of that doubtful recovery is a seemingly endless parade of bad headlines, harmed people, and additional broken promises. To wit, small businesses are still being forced to freeze hiring, drop coverage, and shove employees out of full-time positions. Average people, including Obamacare supporters, are being socked with terrible sticker shock. The administration is finally conceding that costs may rise "in many cases," even among those who receive taxpayer subsidies:
The Obama administration has directly conceded for the first time that 'in many cases,' health insurance plans offered through government exchanges are more expensive than plans consumers bought before the Affordable Care Act became law – even when government subsidies are figured in. In a letter to state insurance commissioners, Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight director Gary Cohen wrote on Thursday that one reason for the new Obamacare measures the president announced Thursday is that millions of consumers receiving cancellation letters from their insurers are learning the Affordable Care Act options are in fact less affordable. 'Although affected individuals and small businesses may access quality health insurance coverage through the new Health Insurance Marketplaces,' Cohen wrote, 'in many cases with federal subsidies, some of them are finding that such coverage would be more expensive than their current coverage, and thus they may [be] dissuaded from immediately transitioning to such coverage.' His written statement contradicts President Obama's campaign promises that the Affordable Care Act would lower costs for Americans.
And the website woes haven't let up either. Meet Dan Howard, a Pennsylvania man who lost his coverage, and who isn't among the 'lucky' 27,000 Americans who've managed to sign up for plans through the federal exchange. After spending the equivalent of a full work week attempting to enroll, he's still at a loss -- or even get a solid sense of his options:
Can Howard, and millions like him, expect an apology from Pelosi and company? Nope. And as the House of Representatives prepares to vote on the "If You Like Your Plan, You Can Keep It" Act, the White House has threatened to veto it. Of course. Yes, Obama would veto a bill that's quite literally named after his most famous presidential promise.