Outgoing House Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid is blaming the Democratic Party’s failure last year on HealthCare.gov’s infamous glitches, and nothing else.
“We never recovered from the Obamacare rollout,” Reid told Politico when asked why the Democrats suffered so many losses during the midterm elections. “I’m not going to beat up on Obama. The rollout didn’t go well. We never recovered from that.”
Other than the malfunctioning website, Reid couldn’t name any other reason Democrats took such hits. Other top Democrats have attributed electoral losses to Obamacare, but have admitted to policy flaws or timing — and at least assigned some of the responsibility to Congress itself.
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer made waves last month when he argued that health reform should have waited until Democrats addressed the economy for the struggling middle class — because Obamacare doesn’t do much at all to help most people.
“Americans were crying out for the end to the recession, for better wages and more jobs — not changes in health care,” Schumer admitted. “Even though health care had very real benefits, it did for a small slice of the country. … There were even some policies that would help constituencies in the middle class, but not a great deal of people. Those policies should be considered, but shouldn’t be the core of the Democratic platform.”
“I’m not going to go back,” Reid said when asked about Schumer’s regrets. “I mean we did it. … It’s the hallmark of the first six years of the administration and I think it’s a wonderful legacy for him,” referring to President Obama.
The division in the two’s tactics could signal leadership changes in 2016. Reid wouldn’t tell Politico (and seemed to be insulted by the question) about whether he will run for Democratic party leader again in 2016, provided that he wins his Senate race first. Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, is seen as a potential successor.
While Schumer places some of the blame on congressional Democrats — for the political ramifications of the timing, if not for an all-out failure of policy — Reid is sticking all the responsibility for electoral defeats with the Obama administration.
The HealthCare.gov fiasco gave Republicans “ammunition to go after all of my candidates,” Reid said. Candidates were also attacked with a host of other issues — none more so than rising premium rates and deductibles.
But the soon-to-be former majority leader didn’t blame any adverse effects of the health-care law, or even a sub par ad campaign by Democrats — just the Obama administration’s tech failure. The only lesson Reid would say that he learned from this year’s shellacking: “Have a better rollout of Obamacare.”