The PJ Tatler

Will Worried Democrats Abandon Obama?

Three data points to be considered. One, the GOP has passed the Democrats in the generic Congressional ballot. The shutdown is pretty much forgotten, says John Fund.

I recall after the government-shutdown battle ended in mid October that liberal pundits were talking about the death of the Republican party, burdened by what they saw as extremists and incompetents who would be rejected en masse by voters in 2014. Democrats held a 50–42 edge among registered voters in a generic ballot test done in a CNN poll around that time.

I won’t argue the shutdown was smart politics or policy, but the Republicans now look like geniuses compared to the party that brought us Obamacare. That program’s manifest failings has caused a dramatic shift in public opinion, as measured by the latest CNN poll. It shows a ten-point swing from the previous month’s survey in the generic ballot: Republicans now hold a 49 percent to 47 percent edge when voters are asked to choose if they want a Democrat or Republican to win next year.

Two, Democrats in vulnerable seats are tied up hoping that Healthcare.gov will actually work on December 1. Politico reports:

“The president and his team have repeatedly assured us that the system will be working by Dec. 1. That’s when I start looking at what we have to do in our oversight function to hold the administration accountable for making it work.” Rep. Bruce Braley, an Iowa Democrat who is running for an open Senate seat said Thursday, adding that he’s contemplating whether to ask the president to fire members of his staff.

We should be long past the point of firing people in this administration, but a poor manager doesn’t even know which of his workers ought to be fired. And Barack Obama is a poor manager. That’s not partisan guttersnipe me talking, it’s the majority of the voters talking.

The kicker: Healthcare.gov won’t be working on December 1. Everyone suspected this, now the White House is sending up the smoke signals, according to the Hill.

Administration officials said Monday that some visitors to ObamaCare’s federal enrollment site would experience outages, slow response times or messages to try again later during the month of December.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) delivered the message in the latest attempt to downplay expectations surrounding Nov. 30, the administration’s self-imposed deadline for fixing HealthCare.gov.

CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille said errors that persist past this weekend would be “intermittent” and, in line with a promise made by the White House, would not affect the vast majority of the site’s users.

But Bataille acknowledged that some people would still experience “periods of suboptimal performance” by the system due to either heavy traffic or technical issues that are still being addressed.

“The system will not work perfectly on Dec. 1, but it will work much better than it did in October,” Bataille said.

On the domestic front, then, it’s three strikes against Obama. He has lost his influence on daily events. The only thing he can offer Democrats at this point is campaign help through his OfA groups. That’s not nothing, but it’s not everything either.

It’s evident that President Obama had Secretary of State Kerry strike a deal on Iran’s nuclear program in a desperate bid to distract attention from the gigantic Obamacare failure. That hasn’t worked. A bad deal is worse than no deal, and the Iran deal is a bad deal. It’s 1994 all over again, when the Clinton administration struck a “historic” deal to curb North Korea’s nuclear program. North Korea is a nuclear state now. As dangerous as that is, Iran going nuclear is far more dangerous. The fact that both Israel and Saudi Arabia hate this deal says quite a bit. Thanks to Obama and Kerry, our closest allies in the Middle East no longer trust us. They have already lost Egypt. The United States has less influence over events in the Middle East than it had before the Syria mess. Iran’s deal cuts that influence further.

The Iran deal means Democrats in Congress just have another Obama initiative to snipe at. And they’re sniping.

[Sen. Chuck] Schumer, D-N.Y., said he’s disappointed in the agreement “because it does not seem proportional.”

“Iran simply freezes its nuclear capabilities while we reduce the sanctions,” Schumer told reporters, including WCBS 880′s Monica Miller. “That is not a proportionate agreement.”

Schumer said he feels the agreement gives the Iranians hope that they will evetually produce a nuclear weapon.

“The disproportionality of this agreement makes it more likely that Democrats and Republicans will join together and pass additional sanctions when we return in December,” Schumer added. “I intend to discuss that possibility with my colleagues.”

Imposing new sanctions would scuttle the deal. If Congress passes new sanctions, that’s a rejection of Obama’s deal and further erosion of his foreign policy hand, which was badly weakened by his failure to convince anyone besides John McCain that intervening in Syria was a good idea. McCain, for the record, is strongly against the Iran deal. If McCain and Schumer are on the same page, Congress could pass new sanctions on Iran.

So will Democrats abandon him? I don’t think they’re there yet. But they’re getting close.