Do liberal journalists ever get tired of pretending to offer conservative Republicans sage campaign advice? The latest example is the Daily Beast's Jamelle Bouie, who insists that "barring catastrophe" the GOP's anti-ObamaCare message will prove "irrelevant" to Republican success in November.
"[I]nstead of rehashing the rhetoric of the last four years, Republicans should start to think a little harder about what–if anything–they want out of a health care system," Bouie concluded his January 6 story, after having explained why he thinks beating the drum against ObamaCare's failures won't help the GOP:
Humans aren’t great at long-term predictions, and have a bad habit of assuming that the now will last forever: that housing prices will continue to climb, that technology stocks will stay valuable, and—in the case of the Republican Party—that Obamacare will remain an albatross for Democrats. To wit, the Washington Examiner reports that Republicans are “convinced that Obamacare’s problems will persist deep into the new year” and that the failures of October have “have permanently poisoned the president’s relationship with voters and done irreparable damage to his personal image.”
Now, it is true that Americans are unhappy with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. But we have eleven months before the next election, and in that time, millions will have received benefits from the law. Far from a parade of horror stories, we’re likely to see a whole lot of nothing, as Obamacare recedes to the background as an area of focus for ordinary Americans. The Affordable Care Act may never become popular, but it won’t drive voters to the polls like it did in the last midterm elections.
While 10 months is an eternity in politics, there is no reason to believe that ObamaCare's problems will not continue to be a significant problem in 2014, despite or perhaps in part because the president will continue to haphazardly and unilaterally grant extensions and waivers in an attempt to MacGyver the overhaul into some semblance of success.
Yes, Obama-boosting journalists like Bouie will continue to smartly salute and prop up ObamaCare ahead of the November 4 midterms, but there's only so much power the media can have over a midterm electorate which is distrustful of the president and his acolytes in the media.
As the new year progresses, we can be sure to see the White House highlights anecdotes of ObamaCare success stories. We will also see the media gladly hype these stories, having resolved to give the president more positive press than the last quarter of 2013, which was bedeviled by dysfunctional state and federal ObamaCare exchanges.
But as the new year unfolds, we can also be sure conservative media outlets and conservative politicians will hammer home the message about ObamaCare's failure. That's a message Bouie and company cannot drown out, but there's little harm to them in trying to discourage the most timid and moderate of Republican message-shapers that running 2014 as a referendum on ObamaCare is bound to fail.