Now that the government shutdown is over, and the media is no longer distracted, those failures are getting the scrutiny they should. But the more important question is about the future, not the past. How long before the federal sites are functioning? And will the administration have to adjust the program—by stretching the open enrollment period, for example, or tinkering with the mandate—to give people more time to sign up?
Nobody knows the answers to those questions right now...
Meanwhile, the states running their own sites are doing a much better job—the reports (and first-hand accounts I’ve heard) from California, Connecticut, Kentucky, New York, and Washington state are proof that the online system can work and, for the many people living in those states, are working already. That's a whole lot of people for whom Obamacare is doing what it's supposed to do.
The "jump in for 24 hours and treat the story like it was an election" reports have been awful. Policy is too complex to treat simply as a politics horserace. Stick with people like Jonathan Cohn who know what they are talking about.
In the wake of the debacle, reporters and mortified Republican pragmatists alike have attempted to reconstruct the erroneous thinking that led the GOP to undertake a doomed strategy. There certainly were elements of legitimate miscalculation at play. (The simplest and least appreciated is that many of them initially believed shutting down the government would halt Obamacare, and by the time they learned otherwise, they had already printed up the T-shirts.)
In the most important ways, though, the tea party’s strategy was not a strategy at all. On the surface, demanding an end to Obamacare in return for reopening the federal government was an insane negotiating strategy. Attempting to analyze these demands in strategic terms misses the point. It’s not a plan to achieve a defined legislative end. It’s a demonstration of dissent from a political faction that has no chance of winning through regular political channels. The problem they are attempting to solve in each case is not “how do we achieve this policy objective?” but “how can we express our outrage?"
Possibly the best take on the shutdown you'll see for a while.
More politics and policy below the fold.
Let's Laugh at the People Who Told Obama to Give in to Republicans
leads off several takes on the new ABC/WaPo poll:
The budget standoff that led to a government shutdown exacted a heavy toll on the Republican Party’s image. Now comes fresh evidence to suggest it has complicated the GOP’s effort to retain its House majority.
Data in the new Washington Post-ABC News poll should worry House Republican campaign strategists for several reasons, even as the election is still more than a year away and the GOP still has the upper hand overall. Below are the three biggest causes for concern.
.@TheFix The two big reasons GOP hurt themselves: they are wrong on the issues, and the voters agree with me and not them.
Crucially, large majorities think the shutdown damaged the country. Eighty six percent say it has damaged the U.S.’s image in the world, and 80 percent say it damaged the U.S. economy. Those who predicted a shutdown/default crisis would underscore perceptions of the GOP as ideologically incapable of constructive governing have fresh evidence for that view.
Additionally, the poll finds that in the aftermath of the shutdown, only small minorities share the GOP’s priorities when it comes to spending, taxes, and indeed basic governing norms:
The budget confrontation that led to a partial government shutdown dealt a major blow to the GOP’s image and has exposed significant divisions between tea party supporters and other Republicans, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The survey highlights just how badly the GOP hard-liners and the leaders who went along with them misjudged the public mood. In the aftermath, eight in 10 Americans say they disapprove of the shutdown. Two in three Republicans or independents who lean Republican share a negative view of the impasse. And even a majority of those who support the tea party movement disapprove.
with their own poll:
Tea party adherents were front-and-center during the shutdown, and views of the movement have become more negative. Just 14 percent of Americans now hold a favorable view of the tea party, down from 18 percent as the government shutdown began, and unfavorable views are up 7 points. Half of Americans still hold no view of the tea party or aren't familiar with it, even after the high-profile political battles.
Conservative Republicans hold net positive views of the tea party (40 percent have a favorable opinion); Democrats and liberals hold especially negative views.
Sixty percent of Americans don't think the Tea Party reflects the views of most Americans, but the movement's backers don't feel they hold a minority view - in fact, the opposite: As with many groups, tea party supporters think their own views are held by most Americans.
The improvement may only seem like a few percentage points. However, the fact that two other recent polls -- NBC/Wall Street Journal and Democracy Corps -- have also shown an uptick in support for the ACA suggests the change is likely authentic (for now, at least).
The rise in support seems surprising in the context of difficulties with the federal website for people to sign up. However, some of the state websites (where such are available) seem to be working well.
The larger driver of public opinion toward Obamacare may be the unpopularity of the Republicans' actions during the recent federal-government shutdown. Paradoxically, in seeking to register their staunch opposition to the ACA, the GOP may actually have made it more popular! It is perhaps for this reason that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican, was calling on his party to exercise more "self-restraint."
Americans' confidence in the U.S. economy appeared to be improving after the partial government shutdown ended Thursday and lawmakers reached an agreement to avoid defaulting on the nation's debt. Gallup's Economic Confidence Index averaged -36 last week, up from -39 the prior week. This marks the first time economic confidence has improved since the week ending Sept. 15, when federal budget and debt ceiling negotiations were intensifying.
More on the AP reporter
, Bob Lewis, who was fired after misreporting that Terry McAuliffe lied to a federal investigator. Two of his editors were canned as well.
But firing a reporter over an unintentional mistake is “extremely rare,” said Scott Maier, an associate professor at the University of Oregon who has studied reporting errors. “If everyone who made a mistake was fired for it, we’d have empty newsrooms,” he said.