We have been seeing leading Democrats going public recently with their views that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare” was a political blunder or a simply poorly drafted mistake. This included the third-highest ranked Democrat, Chuck Schumer, who said that it was a mistake to even try to pass the legislation in the first term when most Americans did not place health care as a priority for action. Now the highest ranked Democrat, Senate majority leader Harry Reid, is saying that the Obama Administration may have doomed Democrats in Congress with its poor management and blunders in the rollout of the program.
Reid told the New York Times: “We never recovered from the rollout because the election became one that was directed toward the president. We couldn’t overcome that.”
What is curious is that at the time many Democrats adopted largely a denial approach that borders on delusion. There were no widespread calls from Democrats for Sebelius to be fired, the subject of a past column. The rollout failure was one of the most costly in the history of his country and there were ample indicators of the coming failure. I still remain unsure why the Democrats were not more open about such views at the time. As they plunged in the polls, there continued to be a circling of the wagons around the Administration on what was a legitimate criticism of its management.
In the end, I am not sure whether it was the rollout alone that doomed the Democrats given other issues like immigration. With the defeat of Landrieu, there is not a single national-level Democrat in any office in the Deep South. The Democrats are now at their lowest level of representation since World War II in Congress. That seems more than just the rollout. Schumer blames the ACA itself, but there still appears division among the Democrats as to the cause.