Commentary Magazine


Contentions

So You Think Obama’s 2013 Was Bad? Just Wait Until 2014

President Obama is ending a miserable year on a down note.

Public opinion polls show Mr. Obama’s approval ratings at their low and disapproval ratings at their high. He’s being tagged by the elite media as a liar and as having had the Worst Year in Washington. His signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act, is a rolling disaster. And the rest of his agenda–on gun control, climate change, immigration, and much else–is dead in the water. As CNN’s John King put it, Obama was “0 for 13” on the policy proposals he advocated at the beginning of the year.

One question, I suppose, is whether 2013 can be written off as simply one bad year–or whether, in fact, the Obama White House will look back to this year as the good old days of the second term.

It’s impossible to know for sure, of course, since politics is rarely linear and events we can’t anticipate are sure to intervene. But all we can do is to assess how things look at any given moment in time–and based on where things now stand, my guess is that 2014 will be even worse for the Obama presidency than has been 2013.

I say that for a couple of reasons. The first is that the issue that has done the most durable damage to the Obama presidency is the Affordable Care Act–and if you believe, as I do, that the problems with it are (a) fundamental and structural and (b) ongoing, then next year will produce yet more problems, more dislocation, more anxiety, and more anger, caused by things like (but not limited to) small business cancellations of health-care plans, “doc shock,” and the coming problems facing the exchange systems in each of our 50 states.

The core problem facing the Obama presidency, then, can’t be fixed simply by personnel changes; it can only be repaired by accepting that the Affordable Care Act is intrinsically defective and therefore needs to be ended. And Mr. Obama will fight to his last breath to keep that from occurring.

The second reason 2014 could well be worse for the president is the mid-term election, which (if history is any guide) will almost surely subtract the number of Democrats in Congress–and which may, in fact, be the second “wave” election to hit Democrats during the Obama years.

With the qualifier that we’re still 11 months away, Republicans right now are relatively well positioned to make gains, and probably significant gains, in both the House and Senate. If that were to occur, it would not only further damage Mr. Obama; it would go some distance toward affirming the narrative that the Obama presidency is deeply injurious to his party and, more broadly, to liberalism.

Perhaps this analysis can be dismissed as biased thinking by a conservative critic. Or perhaps it’s a fair reading of where things stand and where things are headed. We’ll know this time next year. But I suspect that for all his problems this year, it may be viewed in retrospect as (for the second term at least) the land of milk and honey compared to what awaits the man Barbara Walters thought was going to be “the next messiah.” 


Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.