And that reality is the American people aren’t buying the propaganda being pushed by the administration. After its celebration of the dubious enrollment of 8 million and unilateral declaration that ObamaCare was a “success”, new poll numbers show no difference among the public’s opinion of the law than before their declaration:
What’s perhaps more telling is that, despite the rare good news of the past few weeks, their perceptions of the law remain basically as-is — that is, pretty dim. To wit:
- Americans say 50-41 that the implementation of the law has been worse than they expected rather than better.
- They say 44-24 that the health-care system is getting worse rather than getting better as a result of Obamacare.
- They say 29-14 that the quality of care is getting worse rather than better.
- They say 47-8 that their health-care costs are increasing due to the law rather than decreasing.
- They say 58-11 that the overall cost of health care in the United States is increasing rather than decreasing.
Almost all of these numbers are basically unchanged from in recent months.
What is it politicians like to tell us about politics? Ah, yes, perception is reality. And as I pointed out when you mess with people’s health care, the reality becomes very personal. It isn’t something that you view from afar and doesn’t effect you. It is something everyone is interested in in some form or fashion.
The numbers above are their perception of that awful law’s impact on their lives. The propaganda simply isn’t going to change that. “8 million enrolled” is something the people really don’t care about. Higher premiums, more red tape and fewer options for health care, not to mention having to give up their doctor and the health insurance they liked is something they care about. That is the result of the law and it is the reason for the numbers.
As we’ve mentioned previously, the numbers you see above are numbers that exist before the most onerous regulations and requirements (now delayed until after the election) are finally put into effect. If you think these numbers are bad, wait till after November.
The bottom line is ObamaCare sucks and the people know it and no administration sponsored dog and pony show is going to change that perception. We see a lot of Democrats now trying to claim that ObamaCare really won’t hurt them in the mid-terms.
I invite them to look at the above numbers, understand that it is they who are going to get “credit” for the law, and rethink their claim prior to their coming unemployment.
That way it won’t come as such a surprise when they’re defeated.
Peter Morici gives a little ground truth to the hyperbole of the left who’ve decided the best defense of ObamaCare is … to lie about it.
With 8 million Americans enrolled in health insurance through federal and state exchanges, President Obama has declared the Affordable Care Act a success. That’s disingenuous and big changes are needed to make the law work well.
Overall, the ACA’s goals were to provide reasonably priced medical care to the 45 to 50 million uninsured and slow health care cost increases. It is hardly clear those goals will be accomplished.
Many of the 8 million enrolled to replace individual and small business policies, canceled thanks to ACA rules, or to obtain federal subsidies only available through the exchanges.
So if the goal was to proved care to the ’45 or 50 million’ uninsured, how does enrolling 8 million, many of whom had lost their insurance due to the ACA, constitute success?
Well in the real world it doesn’t. Only in Oz or Fantasyland do the rules of reality not apply (even if they really do and what those living there do is deny it) and allow them to make these claims with a straight face.
It’s election prep. We’ve seen it countless times before. It is an attempt to make lemonaide out of the lemons this abomination of a law has handed its creators.
This is just another version of the Big Lie that this particular administration has raised to an art form. And with a compliant media to help them along (a media that seems without curiosity at the most important times) the Big Lie gets plenty of press.
Of course now that the press has helped spread the lie, the Dems will point to those media stories as “the truth” and use them to assure the usual left leaning low information voters that a) they need to turn out because ObamaCare is a “good thing” and b) if they don’t those mean old Republicans will take it away.
You can just see it coming.
Meanwhile, for most of America, the really bad stuff is being unilaterally put on hold until after the election – the most blatant display of partisan politics I’ve seen in some time:
The ACA requires health insurance policies to pay for a wider and more expensive scope of services than many individual and small business policies covered prior to the law.
In many counties, only a few insurers chose to offer policies on exchanges. Absent competition, insurers lacked incentives to bargain as hard as before with hospitals and other providers, further raising premiums and out of pocket costs.
The bronze, silver and gold policies offered by exchanges mostly vary in their deductibles. Folks selecting bronze and silver plans with high deductibles are now paying the full cost of doctor visits that only set them back a $20 or $30 dollar co-pay prior to the ACA.
Simply, for many families the ACA raises the combined cost of premium and out-of-pocket expenses.
About 50 percent of Americans are eligible for premium subsidies, but taxpayers are footing the bill and the burden of health care on the economy — already 50 percent higher than in Germany and Japan — is making it tougher for American businesses to compete and destroying jobs — something the Congressional Budget Office doesn’t bother to calculate.
But then, this was all predicted prior to passage and only a few bothered to listen.
Now we get to live with the “success”.
To make it even worse, of those 4%, only 2.1% got them through exchanges:
All of this … mess … for 2.1% (the rest likely got theirs when they found a job)? All of this intrusion and incompetence and frankly, fascism (see IRS involvement in the ‘new’ system) for a percentage that is essentially insignificant. We would have gotten off a lot cheaper and disrupted a few million less lives if we’d have just paid for it (I’m not suggesting we should have, just pointing out how ridiculous the “solution” was/is).
Makes one want to pound their head on something, doesn’t it?
Oh, and probably the most unsurprising thing about the “newly insured?”
All of the newly insured are more likely to identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party than the overall national adult population. Those who signed up through exchanges are the most likely to tilt Democratic and not Republican.
I’m shocked, shocked I tell you …
I’ve been watching the media circus surrounding the resignation of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. If a more inept bureaucrat ever lived, the best they could do is hope to tie with her for last place. Yet we have so-called “jounalists”, or at least those who would like to be thought of as journalists, so engaged in spin it is almost unseemly. Well it is unseemly. In fact, it’s nauseating.
And who would I designate as “head clown?” None other than Ezra Klein. As James Taranto points out, Klein is shameless in his attempt to paint over the rot that is ObamaCare:
Meanwhile, Ezra Klein hails the success of the Five Year Plan: “Obamacare has won. And that’s why Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius can resign.” If Sebelius had quit during what Klein calls the “catastrophic launch”–see what we mean?–it would have been a sign of White House “panic” and “made it harder to save the law,” Klein argues.
It’s surely true that the immediate political risk of Sebelius’s resignation is considerably less now than it would have been then. In October it might have emboldened vulnerable Senate Democrats to abandon ObamaCare or at least press for serious legislative fixes. It’s late for that now. By maintaining party unity this long, Obama probably bought enough time to assure that Congress won’t threaten what is invariably called his “signature legislative achievement” this year.
“In other words,” Klein writes, “the law has won its survival.”
Has it? Has it really? There’s nothing to this point that assures the “law has won its survival”, and, as we’ve been warned constantly, the worst is yet to come – that is when the President quits arbitrarily delaying the “worst”.
I mean, Klein’s nonsense is reminiscent of Baghdad Bob’s assurances that the Iraqis were winning, for heaven sake.
We discussed it on the podcast this week and we’ve mentioned it over and over again … we are terribly ill served by our “journalists” and the “news” media in general. Where once upon a time they actually inspected what government did and helped ensure that it didn’t get outside the lines, it now aids and abets it straying beyond those boundries. We now, literally it seems, have a class of “journalists” who think it is their job to hide the truth in order to advance their political agenda.
Ezra Klein is one of those. Anyone who ever takes anything the man says seriously again, is a fool.
Thought you’d like to see this letter to a Congressman from a doctor in Decatur, AL. He outlines the problems that ObamaCare has put on that profession and correctly identifies what is going on as a “war on doctors”. The obvious losers in all of this will eventually be the patients, both current and future as the government further pushes itself between doctors and their patients. It will also provide a disincentive to those who might possibly be entertaining entering the health care field as doctors in the future.
This has nothing to do with markets and voluntary exchange. This is about government intrusiveness, regulatory overkill and rampant bureaucracy in action:
Dear Congressman Brooks,
As a practicing family physician, I plead for help against what I can best characterize as Washington’s war against doctors.
The medical profession has never before remotely approached today’s stress, work hours, wasted costs, decreased efficiency, and declining ability to focus on patient care.
In our community alone, at least 6 doctors have left patient care for administrative positions, to start a concierge practice, or retire altogether.
Doctors are smothered by destructive regulations that add costs, raise our overhead and ‘gum up the works,’ making patient treatment slower and less efficient, thus forcing doctors to focus on things other than patient care and reduce the number of patients we can help each day.
I spend more time at work than at any time in my 27 years of practice and more of that time is spent on administrative tasks and entering useless data into a computer rather than helping sick patients.
Doctors have been forced by ill-informed bureaucrats to implement electronic medical records (“EMR”) that, in our four doctor practice, costs well over $100,000 plus continuing yearly operational costs . . . all of which does not help take care of one patient while driving up the cost of every patient’s health care.
Washington’s electronic medical records requirement makes our medical practice much slower and less efficient, forcing our doctors to treat fewer patients per day than we did before the EMR mandate.
To make matters worse, Washington forces doctors to demonstrate ‘meaningful use’ of EMR or risk not being fully paid for the help we give.
In addition to the electronic medical records burden, we face a mandate to use the ICD-10 coding system, a new set of reimbursement diagnosis codes.
The current ICD-9 coding system uses roughly 13,000 codes. The new ICD-10 coding system uses a staggering 70,000 new and completely different codes, thus dramatically slowing doctors down due to the unnecessary complexity and sheer numbers of codes that must be learned.
The cost of this new ICD-10 coding system for our small practice is roughly $80,000, again driving up health care costs without one iota of improvement in health care quality.
Finally, doctors face nonpayment by patients with ObamaCare. These patients may or may not be paying their premiums and we have no way of verifying this. No business can operate with that much uncertainty.
On behalf of the medical profession, I ask that Washington stop the implementation of the ICD-10 coding system, repeal the Affordable Care Act, and replace it with a better law written with the input of real doctors who will actually treat patients covered by it.
America has enjoyed the best health care the world has ever known. That health care is in jeopardy because physicians cannot survive Washington’s ‘war on doctors’ without relief.
Eventually the problems for doctors will become problems for patients, and we are all patients at some point.
Dr. Marlin Gill of Decatur, Alabama
This is the face of government run healthcare.
The White House has once again bowed to screaming Democrats worried about the mid-term elections and this time cancelled cuts to Medicare Advantage. As you recall, these cuts were made to pay for ObamaCare:
The Obama administration announced Monday that planned cuts to Medicare Advantage would not go through as anticipated amid election-year opposition from congressional Democrats.
The cuts would have reduced benefits that seniors receive from health plans in the program, which is intended as an alternative to Medicare.
Under cuts planned by the administration, insurers offering the plans were to see their federal payments reduced by 1.9 percent, which likely would have necessitated cuts for customers.
Instead, the administration said the federal payments to insurers will increase next year by .40 percent.
The healthcare law included $200 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage over 10 years, in part to pay for ObamaCare.
The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) said that the cuts weren’t necessary because of an “an increase in healthy beneficiaries under Medicare.” That, of course, makes little sense. Medicare is a mandatory insurance program for people 65 and older. How that demographic suddenly got “healthier” remains a mystery, but there you have the “reason” for the decision. Well, that and mid-term elections.
As for cost, someone needs to explain how ObamaCare is to be funded if the mechanisms set in place to pay for it keep getting delayed or cancelled.
When CBO analysts most recently looked at the gross cost of expanding Medicaid and giving subsidies to individuals to purchase insurance through the new exchanges — the bulk of the law’s spending — they came up with slightly more than $2 trillion for 2015 through 2024.
After deducting some offsets from the law — such as penalty payments from employers and individuals due to insurance mandates — CBO estimated the net cost at nearly $1.5 trillion.
The CBO hasn’t done a standalone deficit analysis on Obamacare since 2012, but at that time, its analysts estimated the law would reduce deficits by $109 billion, once all tax increases, cuts to Medicare and other savings are taken into account.
When referring to the “cost” of Obamacare, the fair thing to do is cite the $2 trillion figure — and no, that isn’t just because it’s a higher number. The gross figure represents how much the federal government will have to spend on expanding coverage through Obamacare, at least according to the CBO. If the government weren’t spending $2 trillion on insurance coverage, that’s money that could be going to reducing the deficit, spending more on infrastructure or a host of other theoretical policies.
As mentioned above, that $2 trillion cost had about $500 billion in offsets. But the penalty payments from employers and individuals has been delayed and now the $200 billion in Medicare Advantage cuts/offsets is cancelled, or so says the imperial presidency. That, of course, doesn’t change the cost, it only increases it.
Short term political pandering aimed at winning elections as usual from this administration. Ironically, it has been more effective than the Republicans in dismantling portions of the atrocity known as ObamaCare. So, thanks to the mid-terms, Republicans get one of the cuts they wanted reversed cancelled. Of course they won’t get credit for it – but then that’s the plan isn’t it?
And, this is all likely temporary anyway, even though the White House and Dems won’t spin it as so:
“The changes CMS included in the final rate notice will help mitigate the impact on seniors, but the Medicare Advantage program is still facing a reduction in payment rates next year on top of the 6 percent cut to payments in 2014,” said [AHIP] president Karen Ignagni.
But it will get them through the election cycle, won’t it?
I thought I’d, you know, take a tour of QandO. A real tour, of things I might use more than once every year, because prior to this my ramblings seldom needed any kind of links or documentation. That being the case I can report I’ve poked around in the wardrobes, steamer trunks and closets here back stage, and God help them they’ve given me access to all kinds of things.
While I was puttering around in the right hand column, I noticed ‘resources’ (“which”, says the narrator in my head “he’s seen and even used before but didn’t bother to make note of….”).
Bottom of that list….”White House”. Yep. The White House. I stopped trying to learn about QandO and clicked it. Attention span of a gnat I swear.
The White House.
I was greeted by the count-down clock for the destruction of the world, err, I mean the amount of time people have left to enroll in the mandatory health care system before the deadline is arbitrarily extend by the President on the afternoon of March 30th because not enough people will have enrolled. We may only need another 15% of the country to sign up anyway. What’s that you say?
Slightly down the page there’s a tab – Engage and Connect – Opening the doors to the White House. Where it says “President Obama is committed to making this the most open and participatory administration in history.” That brought forth a friendly chuckle, and I had to know more. Ah, that zany transparency thing again, such kidders. Now I would learn how I could participate. Clicking on the link, I saw two more links under ‘participate’ – “We are a nation of immigrants” and “Speak out in support of Health Care Reform”. Apparently we are not asked to participate if we want to speak out against Health Care Reform, that isn’t particularly surprising, but I thought showhow it might be helpful to mention it here.
I clicked We are a nation of immigrants. They generously offered to let me give them my own immigrant story, which they can probably get from the NSA or FBI or my sister’s ancestry.com account, so I declined to give it to them again to avoid duplication. A link says the President is committed to common-sense reform that fixes our broken immigration system. Have you ever noticed it’s always going to be a common-sense reform? Phew, I thought he was for some crazy radical scheme like handing out citizenship to 11 million or so people who snuck into the country illegally!
Now we were getting somewhere! Four points, four simple points. Border Security, Strengthening enforcement, Earned Citizenship and Streamlining Immigration.
1st point, Border Security – Beef up the borders. We now have more agents, specifically on the Canadian border. Probably to keep undocumented Canadian rodeo riders, country western singers and actors from sneaking in, though it doesn’t really say. I can’t tell how many agents…both numbers 3800 and 2200 are mentioned so maybe it’s 6000, agents now, but yeah! The site goes on to say we’ve doubled the number of agents nationwide since 2004, up to 21,000. By default, we may then assume we have more on the southern border too. No, we must assume because the numbers were a little vague. By ‘a little vague’, I mean nonexistent.
They didn’t say anything specifically about the increase of coverage on the southern border. Just that we had more boots on the ground. I presume we have people wearing the boots and didn’t just sort of scatter empty ones from Port Isabel to San Diego. Then again, it did say we’re using technologies to secure the land and maritime border. Maybe we have special sensors in empty boots that detect doctors, engineers and web programmers as they attempt to sneak in across our southern land border. They don’t mention if we have floating boot buoys at sea to keep zodiac boats full of undocumented physicists from sneaking in along the Gulf coast. Well, that was a good start anyway. I assume these are the professions of people who have already breached the border, because the Chamber of Commerce and the High Tech companies seem very keen to grant them all amnesty for their undocumented transgression, NOW.
2nd Point, Strengthening Enforcement – ah, big heading here says “Cracking down on Employers Hiring Undocumented Workers”. This deserves the copied quote:
– “It means cracking down more forcefully on businesses that knowingly hire undocumented workers…most businesses want to do the right thing… So we need to implement a national system that allows businesses to quickly and accurately verify someone’s employment status. And if they still knowingly hire undocumented workers, then we need to ramp up the penalties.”
President Barack Obama, January 29, 2013
Apparently we need a national system to check you out Ivan Ivanovitch, when you apply for a job, to make sure you’re here legally. It needs to be a national database. Fraud resistant tamper proof identification, which of course won’t be used for you to vote in elections, that would be wrong to disenfranchise you and only a racist would suggest such a thing. It will be required when you get a job at, 7-eleven, or McDonalds or Lockheed Martin or Booz Allen Hamilton. A nagging voice in my mind keeps mumbling about some national data collection thingy or other that was an overwhelming success in October of last year.
Penalties for hiring illegals will be significantly increased! Hurrah! Take that Koch brothers! Take that Mitt Romney! I don’t know that any of them hire illegals, unless Harry Reid says he heard someone say they did. All this made me wonder what weak worthless penalties we currently have in place for companies that hire illegal, I mean, undocumented, workers.
So I did a web search “penalties for illegal hiring” and the very first hit on Google says – Obama eases penalties for businesses hiring illegal immigrants.
Well, that took the wind out of my sails. Well, that and seeing them being called illegal instead of undocumented even on the White House web site.
There were 4 items listed on how we’re going to fix immigration, and when I checked just one with sources other than the White House, it proved to be, uh, like saying I could keep my insurance plan if I liked it. 25% of the plan the White House is talking about is already crap and I haven’t even finished looking at half of it yet (which means 50% of the plan I do know about is crap).
So I stopped. That was sooooo disappointing.
There’s obviously a rogue intern at work here, or a low level functionary from Cincinnati. I considered sending a note to the President so he didn’t have to find out on the 6:00 PM news on Friday that someone in his administration wasn’t on the same page he was and was making him look silly on the White House web page. He’d be very angry, no one would be angrier.
Maybe I’d have better luck with “Speak out in support of Health Care reform”
I clicked the link. Ah there’s a nice picture of the President, sitting at a kitchen table…with a bunch of people who look like Tea Partiers…and a skin-head!!! Maybe it’s just the camera angle, maybe that guy has some hair on the back of his head, maybe it’s the edge of a NAZI tattoo! Lord! Nary a Secret Service agent in sight!
And the bold caption says “85% of Americans have already benefitted from the Affordable Care Act”. 85% of YOU, because so far as I know aside from an increased tax burden and higher premiums on a slightly less generous insurance plan, that number does NOT include me.
At this point I couldn’t go further, because I was sort of afraid if I clicked any other White House site links I’d find myself in an odd room with a bottle with a little tag that said “drink me” and a cake with a note that said “eat me”.
That’s my way of telling you stay away from the White House resource link…..
One of the most ironic and, if it weren’t so serious, amusing aspects of central planners is how they come to the conclusion that their plan – despite thousands of years of human nature – will manage to overcome human nature. What I mean by that akward sentence is they believe they can retrain us to like what they’ll make us do. Screw human nature. Screw the laws of economics. Screw just about every immutable law of nature. This crap sounded great in the beer haze of the dormitory among their liberal friends.
It’s a correlary of the “the only reason socialism hasn’t worked is we haven’t tried it my way” belief. And I do mean “belief”. An act of faith. More underpants gnomes.
The case in point? Megan McArdle brings it to us:
In December, I predicted that “doc shock” was going to be a major problem for the U.S. health-care overhaul, as people found out that the narrow networks insurers use to keep premiums low often don’t cover the top-notch doctors you’d like to see if you get really sick:
“If narrow networks could give everyone in the country access to health-care outcomes no worse than 90 percent as good as the folks with the best doctors at 75 percent of the price we’d pay for broader networks, the health-care wonks would jump on that deal as an unbelievable bargain. But I think it’s pretty clear that average folks don’t think like health-care wonks.
So what does ObamaCare do? Force people into narrow networks despite it being clear to anyone with the IQ of a turnip and a couple of years observing how humans do things, that narrow networks are going to fail.
“So even if narrow networks actually were better, people would resist them. And they’ll fight with every fiber of their being when you tell them to take their kid with leukemia to a community hospital rather than the top-notch children’s hospital nearby. Expect the fight over doc shock to be bitter and long — and to end when insurers cave and start adding pricey doctors back to their networks.”
That’s right … you’re relegated to whatever backwater network of care the particular insurance company you’ve been forced to buy from (or pay a tax too if you prefer) has contracted with. Want world-class care for your child? Tough beans. See your doc at the community hospital instead.
So what has happened? Well exactly what happened before when something like this was tried:
However much good, sound policy sense narrow networks might make, they are political poison. Regulators and politicians are going to find it very hard to withstand the appeals of constituents who have been restricted to the bargain basement of our nation’s health-care system. I simply don’t think they’ll be able to stand it for very long. This is basically what happened to the managed-care revolution that held down cost growth in the mid-1990s — people in those plans complained bitterly, in their capacity as both voters and employees. A combination of legal and market pressure forced insurers to open up their networks and approve more treatments. And then costs started rising again. As people begin using their Obamacare policies and start running into restrictions, the same sort of pressure will begin to mount.
But did our estwhile leaders learn anything from managed care’s failure?
Because, you know, they weren’t in charge at the time and besides, human nature is just overrated.
So, as with every other aspect of this nonsense, watch Obama do what is necessary to ensure the fewest number of people possible are hurt by this … until after midterms, at least and 2016 if Mr. “I can do whatever I want” can swing it.
Well the hits keep on coming with this atrocity of a law known as the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare. More and more negative nonsense keeps emerging as we get deeper and deeper into its implementation:
In his State of the Union address, President Obama urged Congress to “give America a raise.” Well, it turns out that Obama is giving America a $70 billion annual pay cut, courtesy of Obamacare.
That is the overlooked nugget in the new Congressional Budget Office report detailing the economic costs of Obamacare. While much attention has been paid to the report’s finding that Obamacare will reduce employment by as much as 2.5 million workers, buried on page 117 (Appendix C) is this bombshell: “CBO estimates that the ACA will cause a reduction of roughly 1 percent in aggregate labor compensation over the 2017-2024 period, compared with what it would have been otherwise.”
Translation: Obamacare means a 1 percent pay cut for American workers.
How much does that come to? Since wages and salaries were about $6.85 trillion in 2012 and are expected to exceed $7 trillion in 2013 and 2014, a 1 percent reduction in compensation is going to cost American workers at least $70 billion a year in lost wages.
It gets worse. Most of that $70 billion in lost wages will come from the paychecks of working-class Americans — those who can afford it least. That’s because Obamacare is a tax on work that will affect lower- and middle-income workers who depend on government subsidies for health coverage. The subsidies Obamacare provides depend on income. If your income goes up, your subsidies go down. This means Obamacare effectively traps people in lower-income jobs by imposing an additional tax on every dollar of additional income they earn. Working hard to earn a promotion or get a raise, or taking on additional part-time work — all the things people do to pursue the American Dream — are discouraged by Obamacare. As Keith Hennessey, former chairman of the White House National Economic Council, explains it, “Obamacare punishes additional work, education, job training and professional advancement, anything that generates additional income for those trying to climb into the middle class.”
Emphasis mine. Obamacare provides a disincentive to succeed (as do the majority of government welfare programs). And what is the old saying? If you want more of a behavior, reward it. Want less? Tax it.
The new twist? They then subsidize the cost when they’ve knocked the victim’s income down enough to make insurance unaffordable.
Meanwhile Congressional Democrats and the administration are agitating for a raise in the minimum wage. They take it away with one hand, try to ignore the fact that they’ve done so and demonize the GOP because they’re not pro-minimum wage (or said another way, they actually understand the economic impact of a minimum wage).
If ever there was a picture beside the definition of “dysfunctional government”, it would be this administration’s along with Congressional Democrats.
And beside the definition of “punching bag?” The GOP.
And no, that’s not a rhetorical question – it’s a real concern.
Even the left knows they’re in trouble for the 2014 midterms … or should be. John Judis of the New Republic:
What I’d point to instead is a comparison between where Obama and the Democrats stood in January 2010 and where they stand today. In January 2010, they were about to lose the Massachusetts senate race, and in November 2010 would lose 63 seats in the House and six seats in the Senate. If Obama and the Democrats’ numbers are better now than they were then, they may not be in trouble; but if they’re worse, the conventional wisdom is right. And they’re worse.
The most recent standard of comparison is the ABC/Washington Post poll that asked some of the same questions in January 2010. First, there are the questions about Obama. These are relevant because midterm elections are often referenda on the president and his party. In January 2010, Obama’s approval ratings were 53 approval to 44 percent disapproval of his “handling his job as president.” Today, 46 percent approve and 50 percent disapprove—a 13-point swing. In January 2010, 47 percent approved and 52 percent disapproved of his handling of the economy. Today 43 percent approve and 55 percent disapprove—a seven-point swing.
In January 2010, 57 percent of registered voters thought that Obama understood “the problems of people like you.” Forty-two percent did not. Today, it’s 47 to 52 percent—a 20-point swing. And there is a similar 20-point swing in the question of how much confidence voters have in Obama’s ability to “make the right decisions for the country’s future.” In short, the electorate has far less confidence in Obama now than they did in January 2010.
ABC—Washington Post didn’t ask the same questions about Democrats and Republicans in January 2010 that they asked today, but they did ask these questions in October 2010 on the eve of the Republicans’ sweep. In October 2010, voters thought Democrats would do a better job than Republicans handling the economy by 44 to 37 percent. Today, they think Republicans would do a better job by 44 to 37 percent—a 14-point turnaround. In October 2010, voters said (incredibly) that they preferred Democratic House candidates by 49 to 44 percent. Today, they prefer Republicans by 45 to 46 percent. The number for October 2010 may be inaccurate, but in any case, there is nothing in the current numbers to inspire confidence. In midterm elections, the Republicans have a built-in advantage that allows them to maintain their majority without winning a majority of votes.
To be as succinct as possible, the 2014 midterms are the Republican’s to screw up. And this is where Johnathan Last of the Weekly Standard points us toward the problem (one we’ve been hitting up here lately):
What could have accounted for these diminished prospects for Obama and the Democrats? Oh, it’s hard to say. Probably just tactical brilliance on the part of congressional Republicans. Yes, that’s the ticket. I mean, it’s not like there was a signal event that focused all political attention on a single issue. It’s not like there’s a Topic A that has been demoralizing Democrats, rallying Republicans, moving independents, and providing a constant stream of campaign fodder.
No, no, no, it’s not like there’s one subject which totally unites the Republicans and cuts against Democrats and—mirabile dictu!—where the news keeps getting worse for Obama with every passing week. As Homer Simpson would say, “Right, Lisa. Some wonderful, magical issue.”
So with the wind at their backs and the Democrats in disarray, late last week the Republican leadership decided that this was the perfect moment to change the conversation to…immigration reform!
To again be as succinct as possible, they’re on their way to screwing it up.
And they wonder why people call them the “stupid party.”