ABC’S Jeff Zeleny reported the obvious yesterday, on the rare day that the Sunday talk-head shows focused more on overseas stories than on domestic politics. Democrats have begun to worry that ObamaCare — and Barack Obama — have become political poison in the upcoming midterms:
ZELENY: How big of a political weight is the health care law on Democrats?
PELOSI: I think that the Republicans are wasting their time, using that as their electoral issue. And they will find that out.
ZELENY: So the Democrats shouldn’t shy away from it?
PELOSI: No. Absolutely not.
ZELENY (voice-over): But privately several Democrats tell ABC News they’re increasingly worried the health care law is political poison.
Their worries may be well founded, with polls showing the president and his top achievement are still highly unpopular.
The White House sent Dan Pfeiffer to NBC’s Meet the Press, the only show to lead with domestic politics in the midst of the Ukraine crisis and the mystery of Flight 370. Guy already wrote about the senior White House adviser’s assertion that Obama himself will be an asset in the midterms, but he was just as unbelievable about ObamaCare, too. Pfeiffer told Gregory that Obama’s “keep your plan” lie wasn’t really the President’s fault …. it was the fault of insurance companies because, er, they followed the law. In this White House, that’s apparently a novelty. Jen Rubin can’t believe the chutzpah, or Gregory’s lack of gumption in challenging Pfeiffer:
Pfeiffer also asserted on Meet the Press that the loss of doctors — because patients are shuffled into plans with less generous choices of doctors and hospitals — wasn’t the president’s problem. (“Insurance companies make decisions about what doctor is in your network. That was true before Obamacare. That’s true after Obamacare. There’s nothing in Obamacare that’s going to cause — mandates an insurance company make any change around doctors. That’s a decision for insurance companies because Obamacare is built on the private insurance system.”) A more aggressive host would have asked why it was then that the president and all those senators promised Americans they could keep their doctors.
Gregory asked Pfeiffer whether Democratic control of the Senate was in danger, but his former colleague Robert Gibbs all but called him a liar:
NBC host David Gregory asked, “Is the Senate in danger?”
“Definitely,” said Gibbs. “Absolutely.”
“How come Dan Pfeiffer didn’t say it?” asked Gregory, referring to Pfeiffer’s appearance on the show earlier in broadcast.
“I did the same thing a few years ago on your show and I still have tire tracks from Nancy Pelosi for saying what I thought. Honesty–you can only go so far in Washington when you’re employed. As a consultant I can say all these things now,” said Gibbs.
Pfeiffer also tried spinning Obama’s low approval numbers as part of the government shutdown:
Er … what? Obama’s numbers went up during the shutdown. They crashed after it was over as the extent of the incompetence and lies of ObamaCare became obvious in the weeks afterward — and as David Gregory points out, those ratings continue to fall among Democrats while the GOP numbers have normalized.
It’s one thing to offer spin. It’s another entirely to offer a blizzard of obviously-false drivel. If this is the quality of support Democrats can expect in the midterms, then this is what they should be telling themselves ….