Jonathan Chait is waiting for the Republicans to manufacture another “fake” crisis to put Obamacare back in the news again. For bad as the rollout was the media has moved the narrative along and he expects that the outrage will soon fade to be replaced by the inevitable acceptance. The progressive machine notches up another “gain” and it is onto the next. Writing in New York Magazine Chait says:
Something is going to happen to put Obamacare back on the front page again. In the meantime, it’s become awfully quiet, humming along like other government programs. That’s good news — blunders and controversy tend to make news, while normality doesn’t. Sarah Kliff graphs the drop-off in news coverage. …
My theory is that Republicans won’t accept this turn of events, but rather will increasingly come to regard Obamacare less and less as an incipient catastrophe for Democrats, and increasingly as an infuriating coup
Here’s Kliff’s chart mapping news stories on Obamacare against time. As you can see, bad news about the website is fading from the public eye.
However Chait’s analysis ignores the fact that the Obamacare site failure will be driven from the news by other scandals, not in the least by shortcomings in the economics and business model of Obamacare itself. It’s true the world moves on. Benghazi was overshawdowed by the IRS, which in turn gave way to the AP wiretaps, Snowden’s theft of NSA documents, the debacle Syria and most recently by Robert Gate’s revelations about Obama’s callous performance as a commander in chief — just to name the major ones. But one theme unites them. They are all screwups associated with the Obama administration. Here’s a chart that Chait may like less than Kliff’s from Gallup, showing the inexorable decline of president Obama in the polls.
That’s the chart that matters. A losing general “forgets” about the last battle he lost because he’s losing another one today. That doesn’t mean he’s winning the campaign. On the contrary, here’s Charles Minard’s classic graph which illustrates the the progress of Napoleon’s Grand Army during the Russian Campaign.
The width of the line is the remaining size of Napoleon’s remaining troops. The Grand Armee “moved on” but that did it no good. It was still annihilated by the time it got back to where it began.
When President Obama started his term the Democrats controlled both houses and the presidency. He made soaring promises about ending the war on terror where it began; pledged to reach out to Muslims and make America loved. He was going to bring a new era of prosperity to the country. And now he’s reduced to hoping that some scandal will displace Obamacare from the headlines. If this is victory, what does defeat look like?
One of the reasons for his lack of success has been the tendency by the liberal echo chamber (often compensated for by similar wishful thinking among conservatives) to misunderstand the real effects of wasting money, trust and strength. There is a strange assumption even among intelligent men like Paul Krugman that if more resources are required the Fed just prints it.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Everywhere one looks, disaster impends. Worse, he’s frittering away his design margin. At each crisis he starts from a lower base of money, credibility and legitimacy.
Obama’s policies are destroying the human capital base of America with long term unemployment and a debased educational system. It is spending money on WPA-type makework schemes that produce nothing of value; that only redistributes a declining amount. It is giving up one valuable position after the other in the Middle East which may in the end have to be retaken from necessity. And it is doing this with the adolescent fecklessness of a someone who imagines he has all the time and all the stash in the world in which to succeed.
And what’s the answer past 2016? Hillary. WLSAM runs this headline “Ready for Hillary, Ready for Cash”. And why is this going to work? Because by then the voters will have “moved on past Obama” and onto Hillary. You can run Kliff’s chart again here.
By drawing up irrelevant charts they can imagine themselves to be winning even when they are losing. The end, when it comes, will be seen as another “fake” Republican scandal. And then the wave will overwhelm them. Though the mills of God grind slowly; yet they grind exceeding small.
But here’s a fourth chart, which suggests that game itself is changing. Opposition to the administration’s policies is no longer driving voters exclusively to the Other Party. It is driving them to rebellion against Washington. The world of the media news cycle no longer describes a stable environment.
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