The worst wounds a politician can suffer are usually self-inflicted. Nixon had Watergate, Clinton had Monica Lewinsky, Reagan had Iran-Contra, Bush 41 had “read my lips” and his son, Bush 43, had Katrina.
And now it’s Barack Obama and “if you like your insurance plan you can keep it.”
House Republicans have passed more than 40 bills, amendments and resolutions and they even shut down the government for 16 days at a cost of $24 billion to the U.S. economy in repeated failed efforts to stop Obamacare. They held funding for the federal government hostage to their demand that Obama agree to kill (defund) his signature legislative achievement.
Instead it was the Republicans who ran up the white flag, but not before doing enormous damage – not to Obama and Obamacare but to themselves. They didn’t lay a finger on the President. Public approval for the Congress has dived to single digits; Democrats fare better than Republicans in the public view, but only by comparison.
Republicans compounded their incredibly damaging self-inflicted wounds by deflecting all attention to their shutdown and overshadowing the botched rollout of the Obamacare website and enrollment effort. Obama’s approval rating went up in the wake of his tough and successful stand against the Republican shutdown blackmail.
It took a while for most people to notice that the Obamacare rollout was a fiasco.
Republicans are talking about repairing Obamacare, but that’s a hoax. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Michigan), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee and author of the so-called “repair” bill that passed the House with 39 Democratic votes, admit that repair is the last thing they want to do.
“There’s not a Republican out there who wouldn’t want to repeal it,” Upton told CNN’s Jake Tapper, who asked whether his bill wasn’t a “Trojan horse” because he really isn’t interested in repairing Obamacare.
But don’t blame the Republicans for what went wrong; all their efforts to damage and destroy the Affordable Care Act have failed, sometimes, like the shutdown, with disastrous consequences for them. What has Obamacare bleeding and in the ICU are self-inflicted wounds.
The President faces a slow, painful recovery. He’s apologized, taken responsibility (“the buck stops here”), said he’s “sorry,” promised a quick fix that he can’t deliver, asked for help from an unsympathetic insurance industry and pleads ignorance because staff didn’t tell him about the problems. There’s been a shuffling around of staff to make the website and sign-up work, but so far no one is being held accountable, no one has lost their job.
And Barack Obama is left out there twisting slowly, slowly in the wind, suffering from the damage done to Obamacare with no one to blame but himself for this self-inflicted wound.