Would Obama do the unthinkable and sign the death warrant of Obamacare?
So, it's come to this. What appeared to be a fantasy during the shutdown, has entered the realm of the possible. Things may get so bad with Democrats and Obamacare, that they may be willing to join with Republicans and vote for repeal - under certain circumstances.
What would Obama do then?
Josh Kraushaar of National Journal:
This tsunami of blowback, which built in just the last month, is unsustainable for Democrats over the long haul. The president isn't just losing his skeptics from the chaotic Obamacare rollout but his allies who stood to gain from the law's benefits -- namely Hispanics, whose approval of the president has dropped more than any demographic subgroup since the problems began. The simplest solution -- if only to stop the bleeding -- is to get the website fixed. (When former DNC Chairman Howard Dean's proposal is to hire tens of thousands of young phone operators to sign people up for insurance -- straight out of a Jerry Lewis telethon -- as he suggested on "Morning Joe," it's clear the website problems are really bad.).
Would President Obama sign a death warrant on his own signature legislation? That's almost impossible to imagine, but it's entirely reasonable that he may not have a choice in the matter. Consider: Despite the White House's protestations, 62.4 percent of the House voted for Michigan GOP Rep. Fred Upton's legislation (261-157), just shy of the two-thirds necessary to override a veto. And consider the House Democrats who voted against Upton's bill but nonetheless released harsh statements criticizing Obamacare. Maryland Rep. John Delaney, in a statement, wrote: "The problem we have currently is that the Affordable Care Act is not working." Added Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick: "The stunning ineptitude of the ACA marketplace rollout is more than a public relations disaster. It is a disaster for the working families in my Arizona district who badly need quality, affordable health care." Add them into the mix -- the dozens more members who were poised to split with the president until his face-saving press conference -- and you've got all but the hardy Obama loyalists who could end up bolting if the political environment doesn't improve.
To overcome a veto, Republicans would need 22 of those 28 winnable votes. Right now, they wouldn't come close. But Reid and the White House may end up relying on swing-state Democrats like Claire McCaskill and Bob Casey to protect the law. If the political mood doesn't improve in short order, will they want to be in that position? And if Republicans retake the Senate in 2015, the political momentum for repeal would only grow.
It's still an extraordinarily remote possibility that Obama would actually sign a bill repealing Obamacare. He may as well resign if he does that because he would be dead politically. But overriding a presidential veto is now a scenario to be considered. It's not likely - at the moment. But if blue state Democratic senators who now seem a safe bet for re-election start feeling the heat, anything is possible.
No, Obama won't sign the ACA's death warrant. But it may die anyway - with or without the help of Democrats.