I heard estimates that up to 50 Democrats in the House might have been willing to bolt and vote for the Upton bill, but Krauthammer’s the first credible report of 100 that I’ve encountered. He’s not given to hyperbole.
A hundred lost votes wound have been an epic meltdown that not even the friendliest media could spin away. By that standard, it was a significant political achievement for Obama and the Dem leadership to keep it down to 39, which is at the low end of the projections I saw on the day of the vote.
Therefore, depending on how good Krauthammer’s high number is, you’ve got somewhere between 20 and 60 House Democrats who were reassured by that delusional train wreck of an Obama press conference on Thursday? They think their constituents will give them a pass because they supported Obama’s impossible-to-implement non-fix pipe dream, which not only completely reverses every bit of his carefully-constructed spin from the previous two weeks – I guess those folks aren’t red herrings munching on bad apple junk plans after all! – but amounts to an invitation for insurance providers to ignore Obama’s crappy law for a year. He didn’t even do them the courtesy of using his extra-Constitutional dictator powers to rewrite the law on the fly again; he just told them to break it, and promised they would not be prosecuted for a year, assuming His Majesty’s indulgent good humor lasts beyond the 2014 elections.
The Democrat caucus made a hideous miscalculation if they think that’s something they can take back to their angry constituents as proof they’re working on the problem. Of course, most of them were really looking for evidence that Obama can dump blame for this catastrophe onto the insurance companies – they couldn’t care less about their constituents losing insurance coverage. There are Democrats much lower on the Party totem pole than Obama who knew that would happen, and desire it, because they want everyone frog-marched into the Great Health Care Leap Forward.
But even there, the Democrats have miscalculated badly. I don’t see much evidence that Obama’s going to succeed at shifting blame. His popularity ratings make it clear he’s lost the public trust. He rather foolishly used the same press conference to deploy his Incompetence Defense and snivel that nobody should blame him for the launch disaster, because he didn’t know it was coming. He came off like a pathetic loser – even the fabled Low Information Voters get the idea that someone who launches a gigantic project is supposed to keep tabs on it. Also, he was obviously lying with that excuse. The Dems who came back into the fold have drastically underestimated the backlash that awaits when documents and testimony from CMS and HHS emerge to show that Barack Obama was very much in the loop. In fact, there have been fairly recent press conferences where his own press secretary, Jay Carney, insisted Obama was constantly asking questions about how HealthCareDotGov was coming along before launch.
So I suspect the public esteem for Obama will drop ever lower, and he won’t have the political muscle needed to complete the blame-shifting process. The Democrats who cast in their lot with him were fools, although a case can be made that they’re better off running against their own unpopular President in 2014 than casting a landmark vote that would have caused his already shaky presidency to implode, and touched off a full-blown Democrat voter panic..