Democrats will probably tell you that a win is a win, but they have to be worried about last night’s gubernatorial election in Virginia. Polls in days up to the election showed that scandal-plagued Terry McAuliffe (D-VA), a friend of the Clinton family and former DNC chair, held a 6.7-point lead and a significant money advantage over Attorney Ken Cuccinelli (R-VA).
McAuliffe tried to cast Cuccinelli as an out-of-touch social conservative who was similar to those responsible for shutting down the federal government. That message connected with voters. In the aftermath of the government shutdown, he held a 17-point lead over his Republican opponent.
But McAuliffe’s lead diminished in the days leading up to the election, though most polls showed him winning by 6 points or more. But what was thought to be an easy win for Democrats. But news organizations took their time calling the race last night, as Cuccinelli was stronger than he appeared.
In the end, McAuliffe received 48% of the vote, winning the race by just 2.5 points, and Politico notes this morning that the Obamacare disaster is a big reason why his support dropped on election day:
“Despite being outspent by an unprecedented $15 million, this race came down to the wire because of Obamacare,” Cuccinelli said in his concession speech Tuesday night.
Since at least last year I have opposed the stonewall strategy on Obamacare. I’ve thought we should fix what we can, especially given the low probability of full repeal over the next two election cycles. However, as implementation proceeds, the news worsens, insurance policies drop like flies, and polls fluctuate, I am questioning my position.
Sue Klinkhamer, a former district director for Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), had joined a growing number of Americans who have seen their health insurance premiums rise because of Obamacare, and she’s livid about it, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Klinkhamer, who has coverage through Blue Cross, was recently told that her policy would be canceled at the end of the year, but she was given other options. Those options, however, are more expensive than the policy she currently has.
The Chicago Sun-Times obtained an email from Klinkhamer, in which she expressed her dismay and anger, to her former boss and colleagues.
“I spent two years defending Obamacare. I had constituents scream at me, spit at me and call me names that I can’t put in print. The congressman was not re-elected in 2010 mainly because of the anti-Obamacare anger. When the congressman was not re-elected, I also (along with the rest of our staff) lost my job,” wrote Klinkhamer. Foster was defeated in 2010, but ran again in 2012 and won.
“I was upset that because of the health care issue, I didn’t have a job anymore but still defended Obamacare because it would make health care available to everyone at, what I assumed, would be an affordable price. I have now learned that I was wrong,” she explained. “Very wrong.”
Klinkhamer had been paying $291 per month for a policy with a $3,500 annual deductible. The cost for a similar plan under Obamacare will be $647. She could also pay for $322 for a plan with a $6,500 annual deductible.
The panic inside the Democratic Party over Obamacare is really beginning to set in as the Obama Administration continues to deal with the fallout of an embarrassing rollout of the glitchy federal health insurance exchange website, Healthcare.gov, and seemingly endless reports of Americans losing their health insurance coverage or being hit with more expensive plans.
Ron Fournier of the National Journal relayed the concerns and indignation of one Democratic Party consultant who put it very simply — they are “f****d”:
Incoming from Democrats:
“Dem Party is F****d.” That was the subject line of an email sent to me Sunday by a senior Democratic consultant with strong ties to the White House and Capitol Hill. The body of the email contained a link to this Los Angeles Times story about Obamacare “sticker shock:”
“These middle-class consumers are staring at hefty increases on their insurance bills as the overhaul remakes the healthcare market. Their rates are rising in large part to help offset the higher costs of covering sicker, poorer people who have been shut out of the system for years.”
“Although recent criticism of the healthcare law has focused on website glitches and early enrollment snags, experts say sharp price increases for individual policies have the greatest potential to erode public support for President Obama’s signature legislation.”
The embarrassing glitches and problems with the federal Obamacare exchange has left a sour taste in the mouth of voters, according to a new poll from Fox News, and it appears to be taking a toll on President Barack Obama’s approval rating.
The poll, commissioned by Fox News, found that 60% of registered voters say that the implementation of Obamacare is a “joke,” up from 57% when the same question was asked in August. Just 31% believe the implementation efforts are going well, the same percentage as the previous poll.
A plurality, 49%, said that the problems with Obamacare’s implementation “are so bad that people should be fired over it,” while 38% say that the issues aren’t bad enough to hold someone accountable.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has set a November 30 deadline to fix the federal exchange website, which has been plagued with problems since it was launched earlier this month due to a lack of server capacity, faulty design and software, and a strategic decision to put income verification at the start of the enrollment process.
The federal health insurance website isn’t the only problem with Obamacare, even though its received the brunt of attention since its miserable, humiliating launch at the beginning of the month. The editorial board of the Chicago Tribune, President Barack Obama’s hometown paper, reflected on some of other problems with the law and called for a year delay in the individual mandate.
“Not long after she uttered that infamous phrase [“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it…”], Pelosi got her way. She stampeded House Democrats to vote for a massive, complex Obamacare plan that few lawmakers in either party had time to understand. She and Democratic Senate leaders ramrodded Obamacare without a single Republican vote,” noted the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board on Friday.
“Democratic lawmakers voted for a bill without a clear idea of how well it would work,” they explained. “Now they know.”
The Tribune contended that Obamacare is “faltering under its own bureaucratic weight,” pointing to the trouble with the websites. These troubles, they note, has caused many Democrats to break with the administration and call for accountability, which could put HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ job in jeopardy.
President Barack Obama and his apologists are working to ensure Democratic support for Obamacare despite the growing concern on Capitol Hill on the problems with the federal exchange website. But some in the President’s party are breaking ranks, in one way or another, among them is Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).
During an appearance yesterday on ABC’s This Week, Manchin told host George Stephanopoulos that no American should be forced to buy a policy this more costly that what they had before Obamacare.
“Do you see any indication from anyone in the administration that they’re willing to go along with some sort of a delay?” Stephanopoulos asked Manchin.
Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would have delayed the individual mandate — the unpopular, controversial provision of ObamaCare that requires Americans to purchase health insurance coverage or face a punitive tax — for one-year. Senate Democrats, however, wouldn’t budge on the issue and voted en masse to table the House-passed CR.
This wasn’t the first time that the House has assailed this controversial provision. In July, the House passed a measure to delay the individual mandate, which would have saved taxpayers $36 billion. The White House pledge to veto, and it wasn’t brought up for consideration in the Senate.
But more than three weeks after the disastrous launch of the federal ObamaCare health insurance exchange, Healthcare.gov, vulnerable Senate Democrats have now come out in favor of a proposal suggested by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), realizing, perhaps, that the law is indeed a “train wreck.”
The already small chance of Congress passing any sort of entitlement reform in a budget agreement before the mid-December deadline may have gotten a little smaller thanks to a prominent labor leader.
In a speech before the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans on Monday, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka promised that Big Labor would “never stop working” to end the careers of congressional Democrats who support entitlement reform.
“Let me just say this one for the record. No politician — I don’t care the political party — will get away with cutting Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits. Don’t try it. And this warning goes double for Democrats,” said Trumka, according to the Washington Examiner. “We will never forget. We will never forgive. And we will never stop working to end your career.”
For all the Democrats’ complaints about conservative groups and organizations making it difficult for Congress to get anything done, labor unions have long had a stranglehold on the party. Since 1990, Big Labor has given $751.8 million to Democratic candidates, which is 92% of their contributions. And in 2008, they worked heavily for then-candidate Barack Obama, who promised them their long-desired legislative goal, card check.
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) is as classless as ever.
The controversial Florida Democrat sent out an email on Monday features an image of a burning cross — using it to spell “Tea Party” — and the body of the email features comments he made during a recent interview with Al Sharpton on MSNBC.
“I think that ordinary Americans are with the President. They’re appalled by the Tea Party’s tactics,” Grayson told Sharpton. “At this point, the Tea Party is no more popular than the Klan.”
“They simply want to bring about the End of Days, as quickly as possible,” said Grayson of the Tea Party. “That’s the ultimate Tea Party Republican desire, to bring about the End of Days. The Republican Party has become the largest suicide pact in history. And I hope they don’t take us with them.”
Grayson, who is unapologetic about the email, isn’t new to controversy, though this may be his most distasteful example to date. In 2009, he threatened to imprison an activist who created a website that was critical of him. He also accused Republicans who opposed ObamaCare of wanting the sick to “die quickly.”