It’s no secret that healthcare.gov does not work as well as President Obama and many of his allies wanted it too. He’s spoken about the issue many times, but as he pointed out over the weekend, even the law’s fiercest opponents–those who, in theory at least, never wanted the site to exist–seem to be upset about its dysfunction.
“[I]t’s interesting to see Republicans in Congress expressing so much concern that people are having trouble buying health insurance through the new website–especially considering they’ve spent the last few years so obsessed with denying those same people access to health insurance that they just shut down the government and threatened default over it,” he said during his weekly address this past Saturday.
“It’s well past the time for folks to stop rooting for its failure,” he added. “Because hardworking, middle-class families are rooting for its success.”
Rooting for failure has become pretty common from Republicans whenever an Obama-policy is in question.
We can trace the roots of rooting for failure back to Rush Limbaugh. He started calling for Obama’s failure before the 44th president had taken office.
“I would be honored if the drive-by media headlined me all day long: ‘Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails,’” he said on January 16, 2009.
Fellow conservative commentator George Will picked up on that point over the weekend, saying he hopes the Affordable Care Act fails because it means the president will fail.
“Of course I want Obamacare to fail, because if it doesn’t fail, it will just further entangle American society with a government that is not up to this,” he said on Fox News Sunday.
Health reform is far from the only Obama policy that Republicans oppose in order to avoid helping the president. From gun control to immigration reform, this has become a well-worn strategy.
“In the end it didn’t pass because we’re so politicized,” Sen. Pat Toomey told the Times Herald in May after the background checks bill failed. ”There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it,” .
Now Sen. Marco Rubio appears poised to make the same turn, telling House Republicans not to pass an immigration bill he co-wrote. Leaders from both parties have recognized that something needs to be done to help fix immigration, but now Rubio supports a piecemeal approach over a comprehensive plan he’d already signed off on.
Could this change of heart be driven by a desire keep Obama from logging the win? Obama talked about the need for such reform as recently as last week, calling for Congress to “get this done” in a “bipartisan fashion” last week.
When Obama’s “Secretary of Explaining Stuff” weighed in on all this Monday, he helped explain who Republicans are really hurting when they try to hurt Obama: America.
“When President Bush passed the Medicare drug program for seniors, it wasn’t paid for and it was more unpopular than the health care bill was, and there were horrible computer problems when it was implemented,” former President Bill Clinton said Monday during a speech in Virginia.
But, as he pointed out, both parties figured out a way to make that law work for the good of the people.
“People that voted for it and against it said, ‘It’s the law of the land, let’s make the best of it,’” he said. “They weren’t rooting for America to fail.”