At the beginning of the whole government shutdown, I was certain that Obama would capitulate. Experience had shown me that, when push came to shove, he’d sooner give in than stand and fight. This time, though, things appear to be different. Instead of caving in to the Republicans, Obama appears to be holding firm on behalf of the American people who put him into office… And I think that I may have just figured out why.
It’s because he needs the shutdown to divert attention away from the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplace.
Here, with context, is a clip from an article in today’s Washington Post about the federal web portal’s epic fail of a launch.
…One thing has gone abundantly right for the Affordable Care Act: The Republican Party. Their decision to shut down the government on the exact day the health-care law launched was a miracle for the White House. If Republicans had simply passed a clean-CR on Oct. 1 these last few weeks would’ve been nothing — nothing at all — save for coverage of the health-care law’s disaster. Instead the law has been knocked off the front page by coverage of the Republican Party’s disaster…
In the interest of fairness, I should probably add a few things at this point in our conversation: First, just because the site failed doesn’t mean that the idea of a federal health insurance marketplace isn’t a good one. Second, even though the site doesn’t seem to be working well now, doesn’t mean that it won’t work well in the future. (Medicare Part D was also considered a failure upon launch, and is now quite well regarded.) Third, Congress, once the Republicans had control of the House, stopped funding IT development for the exchange, seriously crippling the effort. Fourth, the system was overburdened in part due to the fact that several red states refused to create exchanges of their own, as they had been instructed to do… This isn’t to say that the administration doesn’t deserve a good deal of blame. This was, after all, their signature legislative initiative, and they clearly did a poor job of it. But, with that said, there were extenuating circumstances, and the evidence would seem to indicate that things will improve over time.
Thankfully for the President, though, no one in the media seems to be paying attention. No, all they want to talk about, and rightfully so, is the fact that, every day, Ted Cruz and the Republicans are pushing our nation a little closer to the cliff of insolvency. And, assuming that we can stop them right before they send us into bankruptcy, and the world financial markets into a tailspin, there really doesn’t seem to be any reason to offer the Republicans a way out of the mess that they’ve created. Every day they try a little more desperately to hang the shutdown around the neck of the administration, and every day their approval ratings drop a little more. It would seem that the American people, who can still remember the House Republicans laughing and clapping when they shut the government down two weeks ago, aren’t now willing to believe them when they say that Obama started it. And, Obama, it would seem, is happy to just stand by, watching as they burn.
The irony is incredible. Had they just done their jobs, they could have spent the past two weeks relentlessly skewering the President. They could have kept the House, and maybe even picked up the Executive. Now, though, that’s looking like a remote possibility at best. Even some of the most heavily gerrymandered districts, which looked incredibly safe for Republican incumbents just a week ago, are now in play. And its all their own doing… They gambled that Obama would break, and that the American people would back them up, and neither happened. And, now, they’re fucked. They’ve finally been exposed for the charlatans, sore losers, and psychopaths that they are, and it may well spell the end of the entire Republican party.