The ObamaCare exchanges opened on October 1. Had it not been for the government shutdown, we would now be on week four of the disastrous launch. Instead, in terms of the media’s focus, we are still on week one.
Over at the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza puts it in perspective: “Imagine if the last month had been as dominated as the last week has been by coverage of how the healthcare website doesn’t work. How the Obama Administration and, in particular, the Department of Health and Human Services, doesn’t have all — or even many — of the answers. How some Senate and House Democrats up in swing states are already getting skittish.”
But Cillizza is sort of underplaying this. The truth is that, had the shutdown not happened, not only would the last month have been dominated by “coverage of how the healthcare website doesn’t work” — but that would have been compounded by the fact that most of the previous month was dominated by Obama’s impotence in Syria (remember the red lines, Putin, etc.?)
So we would actually be on month number two of Obama on the ropes. Add the IRS and NSA scandals, etc. to that list, and (had Republicans simply not interfered) it could have been a truly horrible year for Obama.
For those who remember the beating George W. Bush took over Abu Ghraib, Katrina, etc., the cumulative damage that comes from constant and relentless criticism cannot be underestimated. It’s always dangerous to keep your defense on the field too long.
This, of course, is one of the reasons a lot of us were critical of the defund strategy (I mean, aside from the fact that it was always doomed to begin with.)
Having said that, the good news for Republicans is that there’s no telling how long this will go on. And as my colleague Jim Antle notes, if the “Obamacare woes continue, the impact will dwarf the shutdown.”