- - Tuesday, January 14, 2014


This is shaping up as the month that President Obama and the Democrats begin to slip further into political decline and irrelevance.

Obamacare, unpopular as ever, is sinking into financial trouble. The Great American Jobs Machine has ground to a halt. Democrats fear they will lose seats in the House and control of the Senate. There’s a forecast of yet another housing bubble that could wreak havoc with our economy.

Mr. Obama’s agenda is going nowhere, especially if the Republicans make political gains in the midterm elections in November, as they are expected to do.

House Speaker John A. Boehner has tightened his reins on the House to keep the Republicans’ focus on the multiple troubles undermining Obamacare that threaten the insurance policies of every American.

Gallup pollsters asked Americans last week what they thought of the president’s health insurance program, and 48 percent said it will make health care worse, 35 percent it will make “no difference,” and only 12 percent said it will be “better.”

A rash of news stories in the past two weeks uncovered one nightmare scenario after another in the new health care law.

The latest development threatening its financial stability is that not enough younger adults are signing up, and that means higher premiums for everyone else. The health insurance industry says this would make the law unworkable.

Another bombshell story in The Washington Post warns of many more cancellations of insurance policies among small employers just before the elections that “could be difficult for Democrats.”

From now until November, the GOP’s focus will be on Obamacare, a jobless economy and a budget that is out of control. That means no legislative distractions from the issues that are among the voters’ top concerns: No more government shutdowns and keeping the debt ceiling on a tight leash.

The big battles will begin anew when Republicans have the votes in the Senate to make their spending cuts stick.

It’s hard to remember any recent president who entered his second term as politically weak as Mr. Obama is right now. His job-approval polls have sunk to near 40 percent, with 51 percent disapproving of his performance, according to Tuesday’s Gallup survey.

Only 23 percent of Americans say they’re “satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. at this time,” Gallup reported last week. There are an awful lot of reasons to be dissatisfied.

The White House was hit by a huge political body blow last week when the Labor Department said the economy added only 74,000 jobs last month. That was the slowest job-creation number in three years, suggesting that hiring in the Obama economy remains far too weak to make a serious dent in the unemployment rate.

The jobless rate did fall to 6.7 percent in December, but that’s because thousands of long-term jobless Americans said they were no longer looking for work, and thus are no longer counted among the unemployed.

Administration officials said the continuing decline in the adult labor-force participation rate to historically low levels was a result of baby-boomer retirements.

Story Continues →