Behind the scenes, Democrats on Capitol Hill are still flabbergasted by how the administration bungled the healthcare law’s rollout. It increased tension between Obama and Democratic lawmakers, which was constant throughout the president’s first term.
In the short term, ObamaCare’s supporters argue that a surge in enrollments is still possible and that, in any event, the chances of the law collapsing under its own weight have been greatly exaggerated. Republicans privately acknowledge that repeal is now off the table, in part because taking new healthcare coverage away from people would be political suicide.
But when it comes to November’s elections, Democratic impatience is coming to a boil. Some strategists believe ObamaCare can be a winner with voters, but a coherent all-in message from leadership has been slow to emerge and the party as a whole is on the defensive.
“It was deeply frustrating for me that the website debacle happened,” said Democratic strategist Maria Cardona, a principal at the Dewey Square Group…
A Democratic strategist who spoke to The Hill on condition of anonymity said ObamaCare has been “terrorized” by millions of dollars in hostile advertisements that have been left unanswered. The counterattack has yet to materialize.
“That’s unfortunate and it’s a big problem,” the operative said. “You have to put some money behind it and that hasn’t been done the last two years and the other side has taken advantage of that. There just hasn’t been a similar effort on our side. That’s really frustrating, and I think Democrats were expecting a better counter-offensive.”