Noting that “Hurricane Katrina was the turning point of the George W. Bush administration,” at Commentary, Jonathan S. Tobin explores how Katrina (or more precise, the media spin on Katrina) was President Bush’s swan song as an effective president, and how the Obamacare debacle is a similar inflection point for his tyro successor. Read the whole thing; here’s the conclusion:
President Obama has often defied the rules of political gravity but this may be the point where the rules of physics kick in. No second term incumbent has ever recovered his popularity once he sunk to the levels that Obama has now reached. Moreover, contrary to Democratic hopes, the health care boondoggle promises only to get worse in the coming year as the government’s intervention into one-sixth of the nation’s economy increases the pain felt by millions. The measure by which he had hoped to remembered in history may yet serve to do so but not for good. Much to his surprise, the Affordable Care Act is his hurricane and it is sinking his second term. Like Bush and others who crashed and burned once they had been re-elected, Obama has lost the confidence of the American people. His presidency isn’t over and he has three years to either do further damage — as he appears intent on doing with his rush to appease Iran — but the era in which he could count on his unique status to protect him against failure and scandals has come to an end.
Oh, I suspect there will be plenty more damage to come. If your worldview is hardcore punitive leftism and you’re a lame duck, might as well go full scorched earth in your final years.
But let’s look back on those first two years of the Obama administration, when the world was young, and all things were possible, including the goal of the happy shinny young socialists, of finally bringing Otto von Bismark’s 1881-era nationalized health insurance to America.
As Byron York writes at the Washington Examiner, the Obamacare cramdown inflicted upon the American public was made worse by Mr. Obama and the Dems keeping mum on the plan’s downsides:
All during the debate, Democratic officeholders, aides, policy wonks, advocates and sympathetic journalists all knew coverage cancellations would be coming as part of Obamacare. Of course, the president knew, too. When Obama made the keep-your-coverage promise, over and over, those Washington insiders accepted the untruth as a necessary part of the process, something Democrats had to do to pass their bill.
But millions of Americans didn’t get the memo and took Obama at his word. And now that the promise has been proven false, the president is trying to recover his credibility — his desire to do so was painfully evident at his long and sometimes rambling news conference Thursday — and his party is searching for cover.
There won’t be any. In coming days, Republicans, who voted unanimously against Obamacare, will be happy to remind the public of what Democrats promised. On Thursday afternoon, for example, the House GOP leadership published a list of quotes from 61 House Democrats pledging that if Americans liked their health coverage they could keep it. And for those vulnerable Democratic senators up for re-election in 2014, the accountability could be quite painful indeed.
The situation could become infinitely worse if problems now plaguing the individual insurance market begin to infect employer-based insurance, which covers by far the largest number of Americans.
In response, Democrats will no doubt talk a lot about various measures to “fix” this or that part of Obamacare. But voters will know that those Democrats are just seeking to clean up a mess they made in the first place. The political price to be paid could be very, very high.
As well there should be. And plenty of panic and flop sweat along the way, including this classic moment today:
— John Gilson (@JohnGilson2) November 15, 2013