President Barack Obama must be suffering from some serious heartburn these days due to his sagging poll numbers. In just one month, his approval rating dropped 9 percent, from 46 percent to 37 percent, according to the most recent CBS poll.
Despite the president's recent apology for its "fumbled" rollout, he will have a difficult time rebranding and remarketing the Affordable Care Act and, most importantly, regaining the trust of the American people.
Will the president be able to recover? Even if he tries to change the topic or marketing strategies, the president has been tainted by the initial failures of the Healthcare.gov website and the realities of the Affordable Care Act. The president and the Democrats are even dropping the word "Obamacare" to separate his name from the failed implementation of the legislation.
His approval ratings are in the tank, and his legislative achievement is suffering a major setback. A majority of Americans believe that the Affordable Care Act needs to be revised or repealed. According to the CBS poll, 61 percent disapprove of the Affordable Care Act, while 46 percent strongly disapprove of the legislation.
Despite these warning signs, liberal democrats and the Democratic National Committee have stated in a memo that they are "eager and proud" to run on Obamacare in 2014. Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., continues to defend the president despite all the problems associated with the rollout. On NBC's "Meet the Press," she stated, "Democrats stand tall in support of the Affordable Care Act."
The majority of the Democrats should take note of the vulnerable Democrats who are pushing for fixes in Obamacare. Those Democrats in tough districts are nervous and quickly moving away from the law. Last week, 39 Democrats voted with Republicans to allow individuals to keep their previously canceled health plans. Next election cycle, it might be smart for the Democrats to run away from Obamacare.
It even seems that if the presidential election would be held today, former Gov. Mitt Romney would win. For the American people, it comes down to trusting their leader. Unfortunately, the president's actions and backseat management style are raising questions as to whether or not he is an effective leader.
The president is desperately attempting to refocus his message on other pending issues, such as the sluggish economy and immigration, and gaining little traction as more problems surface with Obamacare.
The president will continue to be plagued by the problems associated with the Affordable Care Act. Once the delay in the employer mandate expires, millions more will likely lose their current health insurance plans. More cancellations, higher premiums and fewer health care plan choices are placing significant burdens on millions of Americans, and the Democrats will be blamed in the 2014 elections, with the greater likelihood of losing the Senate.
The president's weakness lies in his inability to foster relationships and his relentlessness to pursue his agenda without the need to compromise. He has changed the way Washington works, along with liberal Democrats and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. In their view, the Republicans are nuisances who do not play along in their one-sided game and should be ignored. Republicans will continue to loudly scream and complain as they see a government that is increasing its own power at the expense of bipartisanship.
Take the recent passage of the filibuster rule change in the Senate – a historic action giving the majority party the ability to push through the president's nominations (except U.S. Supreme Court nominees) with a simple majority vote. The president once blasted the Republicans for pursuing a change to the filibuster rules in the Senate. In 2005, then Sen. Obama stated, "In the long run it is not a good result for either party. One day Democrats will be in the majority again and this rule change will be no fairer to a Republican minority than it is to a Democratic minority." Now, the president thinks that the Senate Democrats made the right decision because, in his view, the Republicans are obstructionists and not playing along.
So the filibuster rule change was unfair then but fair now? While the Senate Democrats took a risky action, they are hoping that the American people will not take notice. Senate rules are complicated to understand, and the president's nominations are usually an inside the beltway fight.
However, the president is pursing a dangerous path in his attempt to minimize the Republican Party at every turn and sell his unpopular and convoluted health care package plagued with problems and broken promises.
The president could pay a higher price in 2014 when the American people reject his party due to his unpopularity and credibility issues. The 2014 election will be a referendum on the president for his inability to effectively lead in a bipartisan manner and implement his disastrous health care initiative.