Vulnerable Dems worry about their leadership being in denial about Obamacare

Interesting story in Politico about how many Democrats who are in for tough races next year don't think their party leadership understands their dire straits and believes them to be in denial about Obamacare's impact on next year's mid terms:

And that perceived gap between party spin and facts on the ground is fueling worries that the White House and Democratic higher-ups aren't taking the possible electoral blowback seriously enough or doing enough to shield their candidates. Democratic contenders in the toughest races are distinctly less convinced that Obamacare will fade as an election-year issue - and they can't afford to just cross their fingers that things get ironed out or that Republicans revert to political hara-kiri.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at a forum hosted by BuzzFeed recently that the rollout won't "hurt us in 2014," adding that "we're proud" of the law. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in a recent appearance on CNN, went so far as to assert that Obamacare would be "an advantage" for Democratic candidates next year.

"Democrats will run on the Affordable Care Act and win," she has also told reporters.

The White House, meanwhile, has come across as equally dismissive of Obamacare's consequences for 2014.

"The fact is that [the president] is focused on delivering the access to quality and affordable health insurance to the American people that the Affordable Care Act promises. He's not concerned about the politics of that," White House press secretary Jay Carney recently said.

Polls, however, suggest Democrats should be worried. A CBS News poll released Wednesday showed Obama with a 37 percent approval rating, his lowest figure ever in that survey. Another all-time low in the poll: approval of Obamacare, which stood at 31 percent.

Republicans are placing their chips on Obamacare as their defining 2014 issue and putting their money where their mouths are. The Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity has launched a $4 million TV ad offensive targeting House and Senate Democrats on the health care law. As much as they might be tempted, those on the receiving end can't easily flee from the law because many or most of them voted for it.

"We're trying to deny what everyone knows is happening," said one Democratic pollster who is a veteran of competitive congressional races. "Anybody who is halfway intelligent knows this is a big ... problem for us. It's impossible not to see. We can try to hide our heads in the sand and pretend it's not a problem, but it is."

Actually, I think the president has done a pretty good job of trying to shield Democrats from disaster. He delayed the employer mandate a year, He has tried to redeem his "you can keep you insurance" promise, he pushed back by a month - beyond the November election - the deadline for insurance companies to publish their premium increases, he expanded the enrollment period, and he may yet fiddle with the individual mandate penalty.

All of those are blatantly political moves despreately trying to lessen the impact of Obamacare on Democratic candidates. How successful they will be isn't known but it's hard to beleive people are going to forget who is forcing them to purchase insurance and how much they are paying for it.

A point well made:

And some Democrats say that by the time next year's races begin to heat up, many of their candidates -- even those running in conservative states and districts -- will come around on Obamacare. If 2010 taught the party anything, they say, it's that running away from Obamacare in the face of a Republican barrage doesn't work.

"There's no question there is a lot of consternation about how poorly this has been rolled out. But that doesn't mean Democrats are going to take it sitting down," said Jef Pollock, a Democratic pollster. "In 2010, when the TV ads started flying in the heat of the campaign, most Democrats started running away from health care. Polling data shows that if you fight back, you can at least fight it to a draw.

You're always better off going on offense rather than playing defense. At the very least, those candidates defending Obamacare next year will hearten their base and turn them out in larger numbers than if they ran away from the issue. It still might not be enough, but it may prevent a tsunami that rolls over 50 more Democrats next year.

Interesting story in Politico about how many Democrats who are in for tough races next year don't think their party leadership understands their dire straits and believes them to be in denial about Obamacare's impact on next year's mid terms:

And that perceived gap between party spin and facts on the ground is fueling worries that the White House and Democratic higher-ups aren't taking the possible electoral blowback seriously enough or doing enough to shield their candidates. Democratic contenders in the toughest races are distinctly less convinced that Obamacare will fade as an election-year issue - and they can't afford to just cross their fingers that things get ironed out or that Republicans revert to political hara-kiri.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at a forum hosted by BuzzFeed recently that the rollout won't "hurt us in 2014," adding that "we're proud" of the law. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in a recent appearance on CNN, went so far as to assert that Obamacare would be "an advantage" for Democratic candidates next year.

"Democrats will run on the Affordable Care Act and win," she has also told reporters.

The White House, meanwhile, has come across as equally dismissive of Obamacare's consequences for 2014.

"The fact is that [the president] is focused on delivering the access to quality and affordable health insurance to the American people that the Affordable Care Act promises. He's not concerned about the politics of that," White House press secretary Jay Carney recently said.

Polls, however, suggest Democrats should be worried. A CBS News poll released Wednesday showed Obama with a 37 percent approval rating, his lowest figure ever in that survey. Another all-time low in the poll: approval of Obamacare, which stood at 31 percent.

Republicans are placing their chips on Obamacare as their defining 2014 issue and putting their money where their mouths are. The Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity has launched a $4 million TV ad offensive targeting House and Senate Democrats on the health care law. As much as they might be tempted, those on the receiving end can't easily flee from the law because many or most of them voted for it.

"We're trying to deny what everyone knows is happening," said one Democratic pollster who is a veteran of competitive congressional races. "Anybody who is halfway intelligent knows this is a big ... problem for us. It's impossible not to see. We can try to hide our heads in the sand and pretend it's not a problem, but it is."

Actually, I think the president has done a pretty good job of trying to shield Democrats from disaster. He delayed the employer mandate a year, He has tried to redeem his "you can keep you insurance" promise, he pushed back by a month - beyond the November election - the deadline for insurance companies to publish their premium increases, he expanded the enrollment period, and he may yet fiddle with the individual mandate penalty.

All of those are blatantly political moves despreately trying to lessen the impact of Obamacare on Democratic candidates. How successful they will be isn't known but it's hard to beleive people are going to forget who is forcing them to purchase insurance and how much they are paying for it.

A point well made:

And some Democrats say that by the time next year's races begin to heat up, many of their candidates -- even those running in conservative states and districts -- will come around on Obamacare. If 2010 taught the party anything, they say, it's that running away from Obamacare in the face of a Republican barrage doesn't work.

"There's no question there is a lot of consternation about how poorly this has been rolled out. But that doesn't mean Democrats are going to take it sitting down," said Jef Pollock, a Democratic pollster. "In 2010, when the TV ads started flying in the heat of the campaign, most Democrats started running away from health care. Polling data shows that if you fight back, you can at least fight it to a draw.

You're always better off going on offense rather than playing defense. At the very least, those candidates defending Obamacare next year will hearten their base and turn them out in larger numbers than if they ran away from the issue. It still might not be enough, but it may prevent a tsunami that rolls over 50 more Democrats next year.

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