A More Reasonable Complaint About Obamacare and 2014

No, I don’t have a high opinion of Chuck Schumer’s 20-20 hindsight complaint that enacting the Affordable Care Act blew up the Obama coalition of 2008. But this is a more reasonable regret (via Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire):

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) told Politico that it was the bungled website and the rollout of the Affordable Care Act last fall that cost Democrats the majority and gave Republicans “ammunition to go after all of my candidates” — nothing else.

Said Reid: “We never recovered from the Obamacare rollout. I’m not going to beat up on Obama. The rollout didn’t go well. We never recovered from that.”

Asked about the lessons he drew from the losses, Reid paused for a second and said: “Have a better rollout of Obamacare.”

Anyone watching the polls in October of 2013 can probably remember almost the day and hour when the “big media story” stopped being the GOP government shutdown and started being the Obamacare exchange enrollment fiasco. ‘Twas indeed the kind of shift in “the narrative” that people who believe in Game Change-y stuff would focus on.

Now in the long arc of the cycle the kinds of visions of political sugar plums dancing in the heads of Democrats in early October 2013 were never realistic, and the Obamacare rollout mess drove the numbers where they were probably headed anyway. But it sure didn’t help, at a time when congressional Dems were trying to get a message out that was centered on practical economic proposals like a minimum wage increase and the indifference of Republicans to anything other than the crazed demands of their own “base.” Beyond that, the party of public sector activism always get the bulk of the blame when stuff doesn’t work.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.