Recently, scandal and instability on the left has been increasing rapidly — or at least, public knowledge of it has. The scandals within the Obama administration, from the IRS targeting tea party groups to Benghazi, are making it more difficult for the public to trust the left. Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) has led to innumerable problems. Furthermore, instability within the party is fractioning the left.
Obamacare is falling apart. Last month, Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), one of the authors of Obamacare, publicly acknowledged looming implementation problems, and not-so-subtly hinted he had made many attempts to warn the administration and Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius of this privately. "I just see a huge train wreck coming down … You and I have discussed this many times, and I don't see any results yet.” Other prominent Democrats echo his concerns.
This is only the beginning of alarming problems in a law that the left has championed since it was passed. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a huge conflict of interest inherent in the new health care law.. Charles Willey, an internal medicine doctor, of alleges on Investors.com that the “IRS illegally usurps Congress with new law in Obamacare.” Willey's largest barrier when helping patients is government intervention into his judgment and patient care — something that was problematic before the “onerous Affordable Care Act,” but especially so now. He argues the law is “demoralizing doctors” and “distracting providers toward bureaucracy and away from patient care.”
The most terrifying component of the new law deals with the other ways in which the IRS uses Obamacare to expand itself. The IRS has created eight offices to manage implementation of Obamacare. Worse yet, the IRS official who oversaw the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, Sarah Hall Ingram, now heads the IRS’ Affordable Care Act Division. Creating so many new divisions and offices of the IRS is dangerous at best, considering the IRS has recently proven it cannot be trusted and will swiftly resort to political persecution of groups with whom its officials disagree.
The law is also helping to divide the party at large. A wide variety of unions, including those which reliably support the left, are increasingly concerned about the implementation of Obamacare. “The president of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers” called “for repeal or complete reform of the Affordable Care Act.” At the AFL-CIO convention in 2009, President Obama said union members could keep their insurance under Obamacare, but UFCW President Hansen explains, “The president’s statement … is simply not true for millions of workers.”
The public is starting to shift focus to recent scandals, and what is likely a downward trend for Democrats is just beginning. According to a USA Today poll, 53% of Americans believe the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups in determining tax-exempt status was purposely political, even though the administration wholly denies that. The poll goes on to note, “By 50%-44%, they say Obama deserves at least a little of the blame, though the White House says he didn't know about it until the scandal was in the news.” With regard to Benghazi, 40% believe there was indeed a cover-up by the Obama administration and 44% disapprove of Obama's handling of the attack, with 26% strongly disapproving.
More bad news includes an ugly feud between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and former Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.). Politico explains, “The rift between the current and former Senate Democratic leaders threatens their party’s effort to keep control of the Senate seat held by the retiring Sen. Tim Johnson since 1997.” Reid and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) did everything short of getting down on one knee and begging former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin to run to fill Johnson’s seat in 2014. Daschle went behind Reid’s back to secretly push “a longtime former aide and personal friend, Rick Weiland,” to run. This nudge succeeded, and Weiland announced his bid, which both helped convince Sandlin not to run and outraged Reid and top Democrats.
When asked about the race, Reid said, “We’re going to have a candidate there; we don’t have it yet,” and commented that Weiland was “not my choice.” When Senator Michael Bennet, DSCC chairman, was asked if he would back Weiland, he said, “We are looking at all our races.” It seems as though when the DSCC doesn’t get its way, it shuns the person who does.
One notable component of this flare-up is that the DSCC was pushing Herseth Sandlin because of her electability, not principle. South Dakota Democrats preferred someone more progressive, like Weiland, and progressives recently aired their dissatisfaction with the DSCC very openly. The Democratic establishment should be wary of splitting its base. Weiland himself has said he thinks Washington Democrats are out of touch with the Democrats in his home state.
Through all of this, Daschle speaks fondly and kindly of Reid, even though they disagree. However, “a source familiar with Reid’s thinking said the majority leader has a long memory. ‘He’s not a guy you want to cross … He usually gets his revenge one way or another.’”
Scandal and instability on the left is hurting Washington Democrats, and they’re feeling it. The scandals within the administration are leading to a public distrustful of the left. Obamacare is perpetually revealing new problems. Factions in the Democratic Party are becoming irritable as the Democratic establishment ignores them. These factors are snowballing to likely severely hurt Democrats in upcoming 2014 elections.