Will ObamaCare hurt the Democrats as much as the shutdown hurt the GOP?

Democratic pols had been gleefully anticipating the negative impact the Republican Party would incur as a result of the recent government shutdown debacle. Their biggest concern, in fact, was whether the fallout could last 13 months until the November 2014 midterm elections. In truth, Democratic expectations may have been outsize to begin with. After budget showdowns and government shutdowns, both sides often lose, even if one side loses more than the other. The outcome is never a zero-sum game. National polls conducted immediately after the shutdown—but before the rollout of the ACA website—made it clear that Republicans took a much bigger hit than Democrats in the shutdown aftermath. However, not to be ignored, polls showed that Democrats in Congress also took a hit.

Now Democrats are shaking their heads over signs that much of any advantage they might have gained has been effectively neutralized. Their concerns stretch beyond the current HealthCare.gov website problems and reflect fears that other political mines in the implementation of the ACA could make things even worse for their party. They are working against the political clock, as the shelf life of the government-shutdown problems for the GOP runs out (assuming no additional shutdown/debt-default scares, which is hardly a safe assumption).