With the election looming, many politicians are renewing their attacks on President Obama's health-care reform plan. But it's not just Republicans lashing out. Some of the most stinging rebukes are coming from high-profile, retiring Democrats, including Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia. The complaints echo Republican criticism — Frank says Obama should have tackled economic matters first, and Webb says the president should have led more forcefully and pushed a smaller bill. After botching the health-care debate, Webb said, the president has "had a difficult time selling himself as a decisive leader." Undeterred, Obama has been touting the benefits of health-care reform on the campaign trail — even embracing the once-pejorative ObamaCare label. Are Democrats afraid to stand by his side?
Yes. Democrats know ObamaCare was a mistake: Congressional Democrats have "buyer's remorse," says Bryan Preston at Pajamas Media. They wasted more than a year in 2009 and 2010 pushing ObamaCare through Congress while the economy crumbled, and now it's dawning on them that ObamaCare is a "budget-busting" monstrosity. With even "the very far left Barney Frank" souring on this "partisan power grab," Obama must be feeling awfully lonely about now.
"Buyer's remorse strikes Democrats"
No. Obama's allies have not abandoned him: Democrats still "support the substance of the law," says Jonathan Alter at Bloomberg. They are just "appalled by its political fallout and wish they had a do-over," especially now that the Supreme Court might rule the law unconstitutional. But they should hold their heads high — "insuring 30 million Americans and ending the shameful era when an illness in the family meant selling the house" was worth it, "whatever the cost to one's political career."
"Barney Frank makes a misdiagnosis on ObamaCare"
Regardless, the criticism is bogus: "Obama's bill wasn't opposed because it was 'big,'" says the Booman Tribune. And Webb is wrong to say that Obama "lost his credibility as a leader when he actually got the bill passed against the longest of odds." This "ridiculous" reasoning suggests that Obama is the problem, when in reality, what's poisoning our politics is a modern GOP so "bereft of common sense and basic morals" that it won't stop until it tears down anything with Obama's name on it.
"Wanker of the day: Jim Webb"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 5 baffling foreign-language versions of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song
- Will Kobani be ISIS's Waterloo?
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Bob Odenkirk's 6 favorite books
- How to make corn dogs
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
Subscribe to the Week