By Dave Andrusko
As I often do with the last post of the week, I’m going to combine several items into one story. Three, to be exact. They are different but all lead to a single conclusion.
First, as NRL News Today reported earlier this week, in spite of President Obama’s insistence that the “debate” over ObamaCare is over, criticism continues to roll in. Where just a couple of weeks ago (when he claimed that 8 million Americans had signed up), Obama obviously thought he had turned a corner. But in fact, all the evidence is that he hasn’t.
We have already written many times about the continuing abysmal numbers both for ObamaCare itself and for the infamous “roll out.” Those numbers didn’t budge even though Kathleen Sebelius left as Secretary of Health and Human Services.
And it didn’t help the President’s credibility when the House Energy & Commerce Committee reported this week that “only 67 percent of individuals and families that had selected a health plan in the federally facilitated marketplace had paid their first month’s premium and therefore completed the enrollment process.” How about the all-important 18-34 group? Only 25%.
What about that 8 million Americans have had signed up assertion? In fact, “data from the insurance providers reveals that the president’s figure is largely misleading,” the Committee reported. “As of April 15, 2014, insurers informed the committee that only 2.45 million had paid their first month’s premium for coverage obtained through the federally facilitated marketplace.”
Second, if I had time, I would write at length about how many of those who are the shapers of popular culture have abandoned President Obama. The man who when he won his party’s nomination for President could get away with saying that ”this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal,” is now regularly ridiculed (by the likes of the New York Times’s Maureen Dowd, no less) as a whiny loser.
Third, Philip Klein wrote a fascinating column yesterday with an even better headline:”President Obama has lost his war on cynicism.” Klein was alluding to Obama’s annoying habit of repeatedly portraying himself as uniquely capable of draining the political swamps of “cynicism and doubts.”
Are people less cynical about politics in general, Obama in particular? Obviously not. The President’s approval ratings have been mired in the low 40 percent range for months. Only the fact that people generally still like him personally prevents his numbers from sinking in the low to mid-30 percent range.
Klein’s best illustration is an April “Survey of Young Americans’ Attitudes toward Politics and Public Service,” taken by the Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. Klein writes that this survey of 18-29 year olds
“points to a younger generation that instead has become entirely disillusioned with Washington and its institutions. Among the findings, just 32 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 who were surveyed said that they trust the president to do the right thing at least most of the time, and just 20 percent said they trusted the federal government. … Other questions revealed a similar level of discouragement — or, one might say, cynicism.”
Klein points to responses that “showed a lack of enthusiasm about midterm elections among millennials, particularly among more liberal young Americans — even more so than in 2010, when Republicans swept into control of the House of Representatives.” And then he concludes with an interesting perspective on what might be Obama’s real legacy:
“The reason why Obama’s support was so high among younger voters was that his message of overcoming cynicism with hope inspired a new generation that hadn’t experienced the political disappointments of previous generations.
“The fact that Obama has lost this war on cynicism, and presided over the erosion of confidence in government institutions among the young, will make it that much more difficult for other Democrats.”