If President Obama were a baseball player he would have gone 0 for 2013.
No, it’s not exactly breaking news that 2013 was a bad year for the president. But he may soon look back on the remnants of a bad year and say, “Those were the good old days.”
Mr. Obama’s biggest flop, of course, was also his biggest “accomplishment” (a word I put in quotation marks not by accident). That would be the ironically named Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare.
The rollout, he told us, would be as smooth and easy as shopping on Amazon. If Amazon sued the president for slander, I think Amazon would win.
Then there were all those (let’s be nice and call them) misstatements of fact.
If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan.
If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.
Premium costs will go down on average $2500.
Okay, let’s just stipulate that so far ObamaCare has been one great big mess. Period! And it’s exacted a toll on the president.
As CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger put it: “People don’t think he’s as competent as they used to think. They don’t think he’s as trustworthy as they used to think.”
But it’s not just the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare. There were also revelations in 2013 that the National Security Agency was secretly keeping tabs on all of us. Mr. Obama defended the plan, which caused a split in his liberal base. Turns out they don’t like secret, widespread surveillance anymore than a lot of (but not all my any means) conservatives do.
Liberals were angry, too, that the president continued to use drones to knock off terrorists – and sometimes, innocent bystanders – a program started by the one liberals detest, George W. Bush.
There was also the IRS scandal, which conservatives believe showed that the president’s team was willing to use the agency to punish conservatives and further it’s own liberal agenda –no matter what the law said.
Whether it was Republican obstruction as Mr. Obama believes, or principled GOP opposition, the president got nowhere on a jobs program; nowhere on tax reform; nowhere on immigration reform; no hike in the minimum wage; and no expansion of background checks for gun purchases, even after the Newtown massacre, despite a strong effort by the president.
And a new CNN/ORC International poll shows a drop of 14 percentage points since the beginning of 2013 in President Obama’s approval rating. It’s now down to 41 percent.
Another poll, this one by ABC News and the Washington Post shows that 45 percent of Americans trust Republicans to do a better job handling the economy compared to 41 percent for President Obama.
But anyone who thinks that what goes down must at some point go back up, that 2014 has got to be better than 2013, may be engaging in wishful thinking. ObamaCare is still out there, looming over the helpless innocents like a stalking monster in a bad science fiction movie. (Okay, that was over the top. Sorry.)
The healthcare.gov website may be up but it’s still not running like Amazon. For one thing, there’s the issue of security. What happens – and it may – if Americans learn that the personal information they put in when they applied for ObamaCare has been compromised?
So far more than five million Americans had their policies cancelled. Wait until the employer mandate kicks in in 2014. Millions more will lose their insurance — probably tens of millions more.
And wait, too, until people find out they’re not covered even though they thought they were. That’s coming too.
And there are all those people looking for work but can only land a part-time job because employers may not want to hire someone full-time and have to pay for his health insurance under ObamaCare.
And for the president’s plan to just stand a chance of succeeding, young, healthy people have to sign up. Lots and lots and lots of young, healthy people. But why would they want to pay more for insurance, which covers things they didn’t want in the first place? Because they’re good Americans who think it’s reasonable to pay more so older, sicker Americans can pay less? Tell me when to stop laughing.
And finally, the insurance companies may take such a hit thanks to the president, that they’ll have to be bailed out – with millions and millions and millions of YOUR tax dollars.
But for those of us who are not fond of this president’s liberal, big government policies, there may yet be a silver lining around this dark cloud. If enough people get hit with sticker shock; if enough people lose coverage in 2014, coverage they were happy with; if enough people find out first hand what ObamaCare is all out, they may very well take it out on Democrats next November in the midterm elections.
That, I think, would be a good beginning. And then 2014 may indeed be better: not for the president – but for a whole bunch of the rest of us.