By an objective standard, the Obamacare rollout has been an unmitigated farce. Even President Obama's staunchest supporters have had to admit this. On October 17, The Daily Beast--which many conservatives have condemned for its strident liberal bias--called the rollout "abysmal" and "pathetic."
The online publication went on to describe it as a " colossal, expensive failure that projects a 1970s-era DMV experience into cyberspace." As CBS News reported on November 1, a mere six people were able to sign up for it on the day of its debut.
The debut has been so rocky and glitch-ridden that Forbes.com contributor Steven Hayward insisted on November 11 that "Obamacare will be repealed well in advance of the 2014 elections." The Republicans, who have endured so much ongoing condemnation and ridicule for their feverish, seemingly irrational contempt for the Affordable Care Act, are now crowing that they were right all along. Many people, including some individuals who desperately wanted the legislation to succeed, are starting to believe them.
Obviously, the Obama Administration must bear the brunt of the blame for the failed rollout. After all, this was the administration's chief piece of legislation, and the members should have worked smarter and harder to ensure that the debut would be smooth. It has a lot to answer for. However, the Republicans should take some of the blame as well.
Many political observers--both liberal and conservative ones alike--maintain that a two-party system works generally better than a one-party system, and, in this case at least, they are absolutely right. Apparently, democracy works best when competing ideas are on the table. No one party should operate in a bubble, and this is exactly what the Democrats did. They failed to listen to their critics. Thus, the Democrats failed America.
However, in fairness to the Democrats, the Republicans offered little, if any, constructive criticism. They let it known that they despised the Affordable Care Act, and that they would do virtually anything to dismantle it. As Talking Points Memo reported on October 1, the Republican-dominated House of Representatives voted forty-six times to repeal the act.
More famously, the Republicans later orchestrated a
pricey, bewildering government shutdown to bring it down, all
knowing full well that it was an exercise in futility, since there
was no conceivable way that the President would nullify the act.
For all the melodrama and the fury, however, they never
mentioned ways to improve this admittedly flawed and overly
complicated piece of legislation. They offered plenty of
empty, dubious warnings ("Obamacare will bring on death panels;"
"Obamacare will destroy the free enterprise system;" etc.), but no
suggestions for improvement. That's too bad, because it's
looking like the Democratic Party could have used them.
Thus, on the healthcare issue, Republicans have refused to lead. This isn't an isolated case, either. For years, the American people have urged some legislative solution (or solutions) to rampant, massive immigration. The Republicans have offered few, if any, serious proposals. For decades, Americans--including many members of the National Rifle Association--have asked Congress to implement more common-sense regulations to reduce the enormous bloodletting caused by easy access to guns. In response, the Republicans have done nothing. Political observers even have a new name for such Republicans: "obstructionists." It's a pretty apt term. The obstructionism, though, isn't helping America, and many citizens realize this.
Just look at the poll numbers. Because of the botched Obamacare rollout, the President's approval rating has nosedived: according to the latest CNN poll (released Thursday), only 41% percent of Americans now approve of his job performance. However, his numbers glow in comparison to the Republican-heavy Congress's dismal, sickly poll numbers. According to a CBS News survey conducted that same day, only a puny 11% of citizens approves of the legislative body's performance.