The Real Question: Does it Even Matter?

CBS News is reporting record lows for President Obama’s approval rating as well as overwhelming lack of support for ObamaCare by the American public.

Those approval numbers are well-deserved, as ObamaCare has been a complete and utter disaster. While the failures of the website have been nothing short of catastrophic, they pale in comparison to the shock of ObamaCare, which has millions of Americans losing their jobs, getting their hours cut, losing their health insurance and being forced to purchase plans that have fewer benefits and higher costs, and run the risk of losing their physicians, who may not be “in network”.

Much has been made of states like Kentucky, which apparently had a smoother rollout for the online health exchanges. Except that most of the Kentucky enrollees are for MEDICAID. This is a budget bubble waiting to burst.

Still, in assessing these disasters, the most important question here is this: does it even matter?

Keep in mind that Obama is the President for whom Americans voted, twice.

Granted, the Republicans faced the perfect storm in 2008. Bush was largely unpopular due to the war efforts and his deficit spending. During his eight years in office, he lost both houses of Congress. While Presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) had initial momentum with his selection of Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK), the financial collapse of 2008 all but guaranteed Obama’s victory. Especially when McCain erased any material difference he had with his opponent by supporting TARP.

But Obama had been a weak President. While he was able to get a Democrat-controlled House and Senate to pass ObamaCare, he was so abysmal that he lost control of the House in 2010 and saw his influence in the Senate greatly-impaired.

And yet, in Mitt Romney, Republicans managed to nominate a weak candidate whose own health care reform was the model for ObamaCare.

While Obama’s campaign performance was lackluster, Romney catastrophically uninspiring. Obama carried every swing state. In order to win, Romney was needing a victory in three of four–Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. He lost all four.

America spoke, and they decided to keep Obama.

Republicans had two alternatives against that backdrop: (a) do nothing to stop ObamaCare and let it crash on its own weight, or (b) refuse to raise the debt ceiling and force a balanced budget. The latter would have forced spending issues to the surface, the former would have passively allowed a bad law to fail, at which point Obama would own it.

Instead, Republicans chose the worst possible route at the worst possible time: (c) try to defund ObamaCare while failing to address fundamental spending issues. This made it look like a political vendetta rather than a principled stand.

Now, ObamaCare is failing catastrophically. The house of cards that is postsecondary education is getting wobbly. Unemployment is still terrible in spite of five years of unprecedented economic and monetary stimulus. The national debt–not including unfunded liabilities–is double what it was when Bush left office.

And yet, Hillary Clinton has a better-than-average chance of winning in 2016. This is because there is no credible opposition in the GOP.

Yes, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) looks promising, as does Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). But they have no future in a party that is run by an establishment that is closer to Rockefeller than to the Tea Party. That is the other 9,000-pound elephant in the room besides Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ).

End-result: until the money runs out and the defecation truly slams into the circulation, don’t expect the situation to materially improve anytime soon.

6 thoughts on “The Real Question: Does it Even Matter?

  1. I’m not seeing it. the democratic party faithful is 40% and Obama’s numbers are within the margin of error of that. No matter what he does, 40% would vote for him again, if he were on the ticket and they would pretend that the constitution is OK with him serving a third term because some while guy (FDR) did. His “falling approval rating” is a fiction. His fans still love him. His enemies still hate him. the undecideds are still undecided (it’s what they do).

    • Until the money runs out, I don’t expect anything to change.

      And even when THAT happens, the change is probably going to be ugly.

  2. There’s going to be a GOP civil war, again, coe prinmary time in 2015-2016. Christie is emerging as the leader of the Rockefellers. It remains to be seen who will be the most prominent opponent for him.

  3. I shudder to think what shape our country will be in once the calendar turns to 2016, perhaps even a lot sooner than that.

    The GOP establishment’s hopes of dealing the Tea Party a fatal blow were dashed when Ken Cuccinelli lost the Virginia governor’s election by a much-narrower-than-expected margin. This despite the fact that Cuccinelli had his share of flaws, was hurt by the gifts scandal involving outgoing Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, received little or no support from the establishment, got outspent by about $15 million and had to pull his ads from Washington area TV stations the last two weeks of the campaign.

    Some are urging Cuccinelli to challenge Sen. Mark Warner in 2014. The current conventional wisdom is that Sen. Warner is a shoo-in for re-election despite his support for Obamacare, but I’ve got a two-word reply to that: Chuck Robb.

    As for 2016, Hillary Clinton’s got a major disadvantage besides her longtime support for universal health care. She will be 69 years old at the time of the election. Her most likely competitor for the nomination, Vice President Joe Biden, will be 73. By contrast, the current top tier of potential GOP contenders will be in their 40’s and 50’s.

    A lot can happen over the next several years, but if I were a betting man I’d predict the next GOP nominee will be a governor with some record of success, though probably not Chris Christie. I can’t see somebody with his personality winning a presidential election.

  4. RE: GOP civil war. Of course. There is always a civil war going on in the GOP. There always has been. There are always entrenched interests fighting against upstarts. There are always left fighting not-as-left. You just don’t hear about it when the entrenched establishment wins because they frame that as “the way it is supposed to be”.

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