OK, now that we are arriving at the end game for the government shutdown, we need to once again find our bearings.
Many conservative commentators want to point fingers, say this person or that did or did not do damage to the GOP cause, etc. etc..
What a complete waste of time and effort.
I find the blame game to be worthwhile only in teaching us what we can do better next time. And in that line of thought, I personally do my blaming behind closed doors. Airing our dirty laundry for others to later use against us is a level of stupidity I simply cannot understand. Yes, mistakes were made. Yes, we could have done better and should do better. But bad talking our own team in the public does none of us any good.
In the weeks to come, I am sure the media and Democrats will try to maintain the public focus on the government shutdown. This, despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans barely knew there was a shutdown, nor really cared that much. The polling that the media likes to repeat over and over again showing poor support for the GOP strategy also consistently shows the public largely didn’t think this episode was all that relevant to their daily lives. Surprise, surprise.
The biggest drawback to the timing of the defunding maneuver and government shutdown was it took the media spotlight off the debacle of the Obamacare exchange website rollout. Our entire focus should be on that issue for the next few months.
Our job is to get the focus back on the issues that matter. In the short-term, that is the Obamacare rollout.
Obama will do what he always does: he will try to distract. Maybe it will be gun control, maybe some abortion issue, I have no idea. But he usually flashes some shiny object at conservatives, and we jump at it.
We need to keep our eye on the ball. No shiny objects, no ‘SQUIRREL!’ moments.
The website disaster is only the tip of the iceberg. The website itself will likely not be fully functional for months, if then. Then, early in 2014, the deadlines for IRS penalties come quickly, as everyone must have proof of insurance by February 14th. How this is going to occur with the current website dysfunction, nobody in the administration can answer.
Then, to compound matters, the sticker shock is starting to resonate. Average Americans are seeing extraordinary premium costs, on top of decreased access and higher deductibles . To be sure, some people are seeing lower costs, primarily from the large subsidies the Federal Government is providing. But these are not the people who matter; most of these people are actually going to end up in the Medicaid system.
The people who really matter, that the CBO and others state MUST buy insurance to make this system work, are young people, with young families. Their insurance rates on average are going to be significantly higher than before. These are the people who the GOP must listen to, hear their cries for help, and then allow their message to resonate to the rest of America.
So let whatever deal is going to happen on the shutdown come sooner rather than later. And then, we can focus on the grand incompetence that is the Affordable Care Act.