When Boehner got House Republicans to cave on the shutdown, however, voters started noticing something else — something the media could not conceal: the fiasco of the rollout of healthcare.gov.
The Obama administration had 42 months between the passage of Obamacare and the Oct. 1 rollout. In the 42 months between the attack on Pearl Harbor and victory In Europe, the United States deployed a 16 million-man military around the world, produced thousands of ships, tanks and airplanes, and advanced in Europe and the Pacific to produce the “absolute victory” FDR promised over Hitler. In 42 months the Obama administration couldn’t build a functioning website.
Voters noticed. By late November, the big Democratic lead in the generic vote had disappeared, never to reappear. Republican politicians and primary voters noticed, too. The pool of House hardliners shrank from about 40 to perhaps a dozen. No more government shutdowns, thank you very much.
In primary after primary, Republican voters did not opt, as they had in 2010 and 2012, for the loudest candidates standing on chairs yelling, “Hell, no!” Party leaders promoted more palatable candidates and substituted Cory Gardner for the 2010 loser in the Colorado Senate race. Such maneuvers would not have worked if primary voters had balked.
The result is that Republicans fielded cheerful, optimistic, unthreatening and future-minded candidates in crucial Senate races — and won almost all of them. Similar things happened in House and governor contests.
A second, mostly unseen turning point came in late September 2014. Republicans’ numbers rose sharply in the Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana and North Carolina Senate races during the week of Sept. 22 to 28.
What was in the news then? Obama announced we would bomb Islamic State forces but deploy no troops on the ground. And the Liberian Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, was — belatedly — hospitalized in Dallas.
—Michael Barone, “Two hidden factors in the 2014 campaign,” the Washington Examiner today.