Obama may never win back all the trust he has lost. (He could even lose more — though I think he has an unusually high floor.) His second term was bound to be a partisan hell regardless, but sagging popular support will weaken his capacity to maneuver within Washington’s peculiar inferno.
The fate of Obamacare is another matter. Unless the exchanges for individual insurance policies prove to be a complete disaster — with only the old and sick signing up for policies — they will gradually add another pontoon to support the law. There is some evidence from up-and-running state exchanges that they may actually turn out to be, over time, a modest success. Who will sponsor the legislation to cast those consumers back into the world of pre-existing conditions and arbitrary cancellations of policies?
Meanwhile, millions of people not living in states where ideology has bludgeoned humaneness into a political pulp will be added to Medicaid rolls. Who will champion the plan to eliminate their insurance?