When It Mattered, Red-State Dems Voted Against Obamacare Delay

Dana Bash of CNN reported Wednesday evening that all of the Democratic Senators facing re-election in 2014 would back a “new” proposal to delay the Obamacare enrollment deadline–not really “new,” since Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) already said he would propose legislation to delay the individual mandate, and House Republicans passed a bill in late September to avoid a government shutdown if the mandate were delayed.

The House proposal failed in the Senate, 54-46, on a party-line vote. Every single Democrat voted against the proposed delay in Obamacare’s individual mandate, including those up for re-election in 2014, including red-state Democrats–all of them. If just five of them had shifted, the shutdown would have been avoided and the delay would have been passed–to face Obama’s veto, but the point would have been made.

Furthermore, there are sixteen Democrats facing re-election in the Senate, almost enough to override the president’s veto. If just a few more Democrats–perhaps the five planning to retire–had switched to back a delay that even the White House is said to be considering in one form or another, then Obama’s veto would not have been a threat. The disastrous Obamacare rollout, and the shutdown, would not have happened.

As I wrote on Sep. 23, that solution was “Win-win. Therefore unlikely.” But it should have happened, if the media had been more interested in the substance of the issue rather than whether Obama would win or lose. Instead, they helped Democrats and the media label the GOP as terrorists, hostage-takers, kidnappers, arsonists, “Gremlins” (my favorite) and suicide bombers–while some Republicans joined in the insults.

When the polls landed, Democrats became the “terrorists, hostage-takers, kidnappers, arsonists, and suicide bombers,” pressing their perceived advantage to demand the reversal of the budget sequester–at least until their allies in the media quietly warned them not to squander their victory. Now that some Democrats have embraced what Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and–yes–John Boehner fought for, no one is calling them nasty names.

What’s done is done–and Republicans will have to find a way back from what was, in the end, a very real political loss. But let it be noted, along the way, that the very same Democrats who will now be lining up to support a delay in the enrollment deadline or individual mandate were proud that they “never folded” in the debate just a few weeks ago. They had their chance to protect Americans. They protected Obama instead.