Opinion

Look upon my healthcare reform, ye Mighty, and despair

Brandon Howell Contributor, Georgia Tipsheet

President Obama is unpopular as ever, Democrats have lost their edge on the generic congressional ballot, and just 30 percent of independent voters approve Obamacare. Another poll places overall disapproval at a staggering 54 percent, the highest percentage a president first elected in a landslide has ever had.

Yet one Democrat reportedly quipped “there’s no way Obama and Pelosi will let their legacy go down in flames.”

The thought of bearing the consequences of that legacy may be weighing on red state Democrats, as it appears inescapable at this point, and they may be feeling much the same as Percy Shelley, when she wrote her most famous poem.

Round the decay of the colossal wreck of Obamacare sits a website embarrassment, millions facing healthcare cancellations, and an oft-repeated falsehood in pursuit of a signature accomplishment.

And on the pedestal, it reads, “if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan.”

Along with the broken promise are dismal Healthcare.gov registration numbers; more Americans have signed petitions to build a Death Star or deport Piers Morgan than have enrolled in the federal exchange.

Obama is now seeking cover by way of administrative fiat, hoping to blunt Democratic support of the Keep Your Healthcare Plan Act by offering a somewhat similar solution that attempts a full end-around of the legislative process.

This administrative “fix” was mocked as “a joke” and no more than a parlor trick meant to deflect blame from Democrats ahead of 2014 before the president’s baffling press conference even started.

Even Howard Dean questioned its legality and Piers Morgan, speaking of, called both the law’s rollout and presser an “utter disaster.”

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi is decrying the Keep Your Healthcare Plan Act as “a dangerous bill,” saying it “undermines The Affordable Care Act” even as Democratic members appear set to abandon ship on elements of the law that carries their leader’s name.

President Obama has faced voters for the last time, leaving the political shrapnel with largely red state members of his party on the ballot in 2014 and beyond. Yet this is as much a collapse of their own doing as it is party leadership’s.

Senate Democrats unanimously opposed legislation in 2010 that would’ve halted the Obamacare’s grandfathering rule, which has driven the insurance cancellations in the first place.

Within that confab were the likes of Mary Landrieu, Mark Pryor, Kay Hagan, Mark Begich, and others who now back delay of the law’s key components as they gear up to answer to their constituents in the coming year.

They capitulated to something sold on assurances that have proven untrue, first among which that Americans could keep their plans if so desired.

Obama himself reminded us of that; the meandering press conference included throwing party members under the bus by recounting that they too made the same promise that Americans could keep their healthcare.

Vulnerable Democrats in both House and Senate, are surely vexed further by the message that the law’s negatives “only” impact 5 percent of Americans.

It seems the intra-party tension is nearing a flashpoint.

Kay Hagan reaffirmed her preference for Mary Landrieu’s desperate legislative effort to delay the mandate over Obama’s administrative ballyhoo before the conference even concluded.

She was followed by a cadre of Democratic colleagues, from Indiana to Oregon, saying more had to be done than trusting the administration’s suggested “fix.”

Rather than fretting only when political livelihoods are on the line, they could’ve stopped it before.

Instead red state Democrats tied themselves to Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, backing a plan that’s proving itself to be a cost spiking, premium cancelling, glitch-ridden personification of the failure of big government politics, overreaches, and mandates.

As the fallout mounts, the Obama administration is hardly mitigating their problems, instead demanding red state members cling bitterly to an ever-more-unpopular law, tying them to his broken promises and fading credibility.

The lone and level sands stretch far away, indeed.

Brandon Howell is an account director at Hynes Communications and a contributor to the Peach State political blog Georgia Tipsheet.