The man responsible for electing more Republicans to the House sees the Obamacare rollout fiasco as akin to a "category 5 hurricane," and is feeling pretty confident as he looks ahead at the congressional election landscape for 2014.
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told a group of reporters during a Friday morning breakfast that the headlines about the government shutdown have now been overshadowed by low Obamacare enrollment numbers and a broken website. And despite the Republican Party's splintered House caucus, the Republicans are all on the same page when it comes to decrying the Affordable Care Act.
Furthermore, when you look at the election map and see far more solidly conservative districts than have been on the ballot in awhile, he thinks Republicans will have an easy sell when it comes to voters in the midterm election .
"History doesn't repeat itself automatically, [you] have to earn those seats," Walden said, but he believes he has got a lot of factors working for him, especially after this week.
President Barack Obama had to introduce an executive order to guarantee that Americans could keep their health care plans if they liked them, and House Democrats in tight races were rushing to sponsor and vote for legislation that would reinforce that executive order. Friday, Obama's approval rating remained low at 42 percent, according to the latest poll from Gallup.
Republican pollster Dan Judy, who has done polling for the NRCC, says that with Obama's approval plummeting, "things are looking grim for House Democrats."
"Obamacare is likely to be an even bigger campaign issue than it was in 2010 when the Republicans used it to devastating effect against Democratic incumbents," Judy says. "It's gotten Republicans re-energized and Democrats demoralized, which is exactly the opposite of what the Democrats need to have a chance next year."
But not everyone, especially Democrats, believe Walden should be getting comfortable just yet.
"If Republicans think they look good to voters, they need to find a better mirror. The reality is that they continue to ram forward with the same extreme agenda against women and families that cost them big in 2012," says Marcy Stech, a spokesman for Emily's List, a Democratic pro-abortion rights group.
Others warn if tea party Republicans in the House were to lead the country to the brink of another government shutdown or let the federal government default on its debt this winter, there could still be major implications for 2014.
Kyle Kondik, a congressional expert at the University of Virginia, also points to at least three popular Republicans in swing districts who won't be on the ballot in 2014. Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark. and Rep. Jon Runyan, R-N.J., both announced they were retiring. And the race to replace the late Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., who passed away in October, is already shaping up to be a competitive one.
"The polls can all changes in six months," Kondik says. " What doesn't change is new recruits entering the races and incumbents retiring."
Even Walden admits losing three incumbents ahead of a midterm election is never a good thing, but he's confident in his odds.
"I'd rather be us than them even with the retirements. We have more member. They have got to go win on red territory," Walden says. "We have got to be on game, on message and have the right people in the right places."