The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson urges 2014 Democratic candidates to run on Obamacare, because "Wishy-washy won’t work."
Robinson’s column cited the results of a Florida special election for a congressional seat in an evenly divided district where a Democratic dream candidate who had won statewide lost to a flawed Republican.
According to Robinson, the Democrat "defended President (Barack) Obama’s signature achievement but added the caveat that she wants to ‘keep what’s right and fix what’s wrong.’"
Robinson insists that "’fix what’s wrong’ sounds weak and equivocal." What the Democrats must do is "play offense on Obamacare, not defense."
Republicans hope Democrats take Robinson’s advice.
Obamacare has been a technical failure; its central promise — "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan" — was fraudulent; the fundamental economic assumptions behind Obamacare were wrong; and Obamacare’s primary goal of signing up Americans, especially young Americans, lacking health insurance is floundering.
Obamacare is less popular today than it was when the bill passed.
Seven Democratic Senate seats will be contested in states Mitt Romney won in 2012; three opened by retirements. Fifteen seats, perhaps 17 — only two held by Republicans — are considered competitive, most currently held by Democrats who voted for Obamacare.
Republicans need six more Senate seats for a majority; 2014 is shaping up as a big year for Republicans.
Analyst Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics forecasts: Democrats lose, citing "a grim picture for Senate Democrats. … (T)he president would have to get his approval above 50 percent by Election Day before they would be favored to hold the chamber."
Some polls have the president’s approval rating in George W. Bush territory — below 40 percent.
Trende sees "Democratic losses of between seven to nine seats." In "the most common outcome," Republicans take over the Senate.
A late February New York Times/CBS News poll favored Republicans, who may extend their House majority, too. Asked how they plan to vote for the House, "42 percent say they will back Republicans in November, and 39 percent indicate that they will back Democrats."
Nine House Democrats who announced they’re retiring and two who resigned, all of whom voted for Obamacare, apparently agree with the poll.
Dan Henninger of the Wall Street Journal:
"As American voters watch Obamacare continue its Godzilla-like rampage across the national health-care landscape, it’s worth considering the collateral damage this political monster may be doing to the Democratic brand itself.
"(W)hether from laziness or arrogance, the party is now producing political contraptions that are monuments to inefficiency, incomprehension and unworkability. Before ObamaCare, it often went unnoticed. But the health-care law sits out in plain view, letting every voter connect the dots between political promise and nonperformance."
The Obamacare "keep, but fix option" posed by Eugene Robinson and many hopeful Democrats presents a conundrum for both parties. With the general election less than eight months away, both must offer something — soon.
Republicans who advocate repealing Obamacare must agree on a consolidated plan to replace it from a number of alternatives they’ve advanced.
Democrats who advocate fixing Obamacare must offer their fixes.
But even Democrats aren’t betting on the Democrats to succeed.