Although asymptomatic herself, Mary Mallon is believed to have infected 53 people with typhoid fever at the start of the last century, of whom 3 died. Barack Obama, electorally immune from defeat, has become an asymptomatic carrier of the defeat virus for Democrats. With two more years of his term ahead, the party faces some very decisions. Do they continue to shun him as they did during the campaign? It is one thing to not ask him to their states for campaign appearances, but it is quite another to vote against him, particularly if Republicans manage to pass some commonsense legislation (for example: repeal the medical device tax of Obamacare) that he subsequently vetoes. Do they humiliate him by voting to override?
Then there is the tricky matter of the 2016 presidential race. Does Hillary Clinton turn on him? If she does, who knows what might leak out about her behavior the night of Benghazi?
And above all, there is the matter of the African American constituency, the bedrock to the Democratic base. Blacks account for a quarter of the vote for Democrats nationally, and without their utter continued solidarity, the party is in deep trouble. But blacks continue to identify with President Obama, no matter how badly he screws things up. It is awfully tricky for Democrats to distance themselves from him, or even turn on him, without risking black turnout in 2016 elections.
President Obama’s unpopularity threatens to be contagious, much as George W. Bush’s was for Republicans, handing the Democrats the Congressional margins they used to enact Obamacare with not a single Republican vote.
Just as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continued to drag down the Bush presidency and Republican popularity between 2006 and 2008, Obamacare’s depredations will continue for the next two years. The Obama administration has postponed rate hike announcements until after the midterms, but now they will hit, and by most reports, hit hard the pocketbooks of hard-pressed middle class families. More and more people are discovering that the high deductibles of Obamacare policies mean that they collect very little in years of good health, and face thousands of dollars in out of pocket expenses if they have major illnesses.
By one count, 26 senators who voted for Obamacare will be out of office when the next Congress convenes. That is a higher death rate than even Typhoid Mary caused.
drawing by Otto Veblin