President Obama is struggling to get members of his party who are running for election in 2014 to come to his side in support of Obamacare, his signature achievement. In fact, a growing list of Democrats are trying to distance themselves from Obama’s takeover of the nation’s healthcare system.
President Obama is telling Democrats that they shouldn’t apologize for being on board the Obamacare bandwagon and says they should be proud of the law. He insists that “there is a strong, good, right story to tell.”
But members of his party running for election or re-election are not so sure.
As far back as November 2013, a group of incumbent Democrats looking to launch re-election campaigns met with the administration to discuss the disastrous rollout of Obamacare. But things have not improved much since then. Democrats are still running away from Obamacare by the numbers.
1. When Democratic candidate for Senate, Michelle Nunn of Georgia, was asked if she would have voted for Obamacare, she gave a non-answer sort of answer, saying, “So at the time that the Affordable Health Care Act was passed, I was working for Points of Light. I wish that we had had more people who had tried to architect a bipartisan legislation.” She went on to say it was “impossible” to say what she’d have done if she were in Congress when the Obamacare vote was held.
2. Democrat candidate for Congress in West Virginia, David Tennant, is attempting to distance himself from the administration on a number of issues. “If the President wants to promote opportunity, he needs to rethink his energy policies. The President is wrong on coal and I will fight him or anyone else who wants to take our coal jobs,” he said in January.
3. Kentucky Democrat Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has several times refused to answer a straight yes or no question on whether she would have voted for Obamacare.
4. Nebraska Democrat and candidate for the U.S. House, Pete Festersen, has refused to answer whether he supports the healthcare law.
5. Staci Appel, an Iowa Democrat, also refused to answer Obamacare questions recently.
6. Another Iowan and current member of the U.S. House, Democrat Senate candidate Bruce Braley, is also pulling against Obamacare. Braley just voted with Republicans on a bill to put a crimp in the law. “President Obama promised that Americans could keep their health insurance if they liked it, and Iowans think that promise should be honored. That’s why I supported today’s bill,” he said.
7. Michigan’s Gary Peters also voted with the Republicans and Rep. Braley on the same bill.
A recent article in The Hill detailed how several Democrats up for reelection are trying to squirm away from Obamacare, so the number of nervous Democrats continues to mount.
8. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) recently told The Hill that he is hearing a lot of grumbling in the ranks. “A lot of members are very concerned” over the multiple failures of Obamacare, he said. “This is a swelling chorus,” he continued.
9. Kay Hagan (D-NC) recently wrote a letter stating that the problems in Obamacare “are simply unacceptable, and Americans deserve answers and swift solutions.” In January, Hagan declined to join Obama on a campaign swing he made in North Carolina. It was obvious she did not wish to be seen with the President.
10. Embattled Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) has launched a TV ad criticizing the President over his “lie of the year” claim that if we liked our insurance plans we could keep them. “What I’ve said to the President is, ‘You told them that they could keep it,'” Landrieu said in the ad. “This is a promise that you made. This is a promise that you should keep,” she added.
11. Mark Begich (D-AK) recently said that he has “been frustrated from the beginning.” In a letter to constituents last November, Begich said, “It is simply unacceptable for Alaskans to bear the brunt of the administration’s mismanagement of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and that is the message U.S. Senator Mark Begich delivered to President Obama today.” This year Begich also criticized the administration for less signups than there could have been. “I think that number would have been even higher if the administration hadn’t dropped the ball on managing the website and larger rollout,” he said.
12. Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) recently tried to distance himself, not just from Obamacare, but from a series of Obama’s policies. “I’ve always said that I’ll work with the President when I think he’s right but oppose him when I think he’s wrong. I’ll continue to oppose his agenda when it’s bad for Arkansas and our country,” he said.
13. Montana Senator John Walsh made sure that his constituents knew that he did not vote for Obamacare. “I was preparing soldiers and airmen to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan. So I did not vote on the Affordable Care Act–just want to make that clear,” Walsh said at a candidates’ forum. In May, Walsh said that the “jury is still out” on Obamacare and pointed out that “the intent was to bring healthcare costs down and provide health care for all of our citizens. As of today, we’re not seeing that.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.