Any day now, you expect the Democrats to break out the Rob Ford excuses. Yes, some unfortunate choices were made. Yes, it appears the consequences were, in many cases, unanticipated. But hey, we were just having a little fun while we were in a drunken stupor. Besides, people still love us.
Only, no they don't. The numbers are coming in. The lies are adding up. And the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the U.S. Senate are freaking out. They want deals, delays, definitions, distractions – anything to keep from paying what is beginning to appear will be a heavy price for voting for Obamacare.
Americans have surveyed the president's masterpiece of domestic policy, his signature achievement. And they have decided it's not working.
The administration asked for two months' patience to address the website rollout woes. Just as three-and-a-half years was not enough to build it right the first time, it looks as if two extra months won't be enough to fix it.
And as the website thrashes and groans and tries to come to life, President Obama's promise that Americans who liked their doctors and coverage could keep them lies in ashes. Millions already have lost the coverage and doctors they liked, and the number could grow 10-fold as the rollout continues.
Virtually every point the president made to urge enactment lies in tatters. It's not going to "bend the cost curve down" – in fact, quite the opposite.
And those "death panels" that definitely were never going to occur? They may be occurring already. While the law's political vulnerability remains at its highest point.
Support erodes daily. The play changes accordingly. Can vulnerable Senate Democrats shelter in place and ride out the storm, as President Obama's pollsters suggest? Or is it time to beat that panic button like a gong?
They better decide soon because the walls are caving in quickly. When the shutdown ended, Senate Democrats were up eight points in a generic ballot. Now, 40 days later, they are down two. That's a seismic shift. Moreover, at this point in 2010, Democrats still had a six-point edge in the generic. This is shaping up to possibly become a wave election in favor of the GOP.
And it probably is not a good idea to wait for President Obama to summon his mystical rhetorical powers and save the day. A majority of Americans do not find the president "honest and trustworthy," and a mere 40 percent thinks he can "manage the government effectively." And the demand for outright repeal of Obamacare is solidly above 50 percent and moving northward.
There is little evidence he's ever had coattails to ride – many more Democrats have gone down to defeat because of him than have won. And he'll have even less as 2014 and 2016 approach without him on the ballot.
The formula for a rousing, game-changing victory in 2014 is so simple even Republicans should be able to follow it. It's keep the conversation on Obamacare, don't shut down the government again and follow the Buckley Rule – support the most conservative candidate who can win. If they can do that and avoid the Todd Akin playbook of political mistakes, they could find themselves in control of the Senate come 2015.