- - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Democrats often don’t know what to do with themselves when the people tell them to go home. He’s a successful businessman, but Don Beyer misses most his membership in the club. He’s been locked out since he lost a bid for governor of Virginia to Jim Gilmore in 1997, so he’s trying to replace Rep. James P. Moran, who is retiring from the congressional seat he has held for 12 terms.

Mr. Beyer is an unabashed liberal and proud of it, the sort of candidate the Club for Growth once described, referring to Vermont’s Howard Dean, as a “tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving freak show.” Mr. Beyer, a “1 percenter” who owns four Volvo dealerships in Northern Virginia, could add another descriptive to that list: “Obamacare-loving.”

It will take a lot for Mr. Beyer to stand out as he goes against seven other liberals in a June 10 primary in a midnight blue electorate that voted 67 percent for President Obama in 2012. As part of his more-liberal-than-thou routine, Mr. Beyer is playing audio clips on the radio of Mr. Obama defending Obamacare. “The debate over repealing this law is over,” says the president. “The Affordable Care Act is here to stay.” Mr. Beyer obviously gives that a standing ovation and follows the cheers with a vow to “fight all efforts to repeal the health care law.”

Practical Democratic candidates across the country have distanced themselves from the health care debacle as if it were a virus from the Third World. A new study shows that health care spending shot up at an annualized rate of 9.9 percent in the first quarter of 2014, the fastest such increase since Jimmy Carter was president. So much for making health care affordable.

The administration can’t make a functional website even spending more than $1 billion trying. Four states — Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada and Oregon — have deemed their Obamacare exchanges broken beyond repair. They’ll either have to be rebuilt or piggybacked on the federal site after burning through a combined total of $474 million, according to Politico, the Capitol Hill daily.

Democratic Party leaders nevertheless insist that the midterm elections won’t be a referendum on President Obama and Obamacare. “No, absolutely not,” Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, insisted to NBC’s “Meet the Press.” She says she’s sure that the party’s prospects in November are not inextricably linked to the president and his unpopular policies.

Mrs. Wasserman Schultz’s claim contradicts a national Quinnipiac poll that found that half of Democrats surveyed say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports the Obamacare law, while 8 of 10 Republican voters say they are less likely to vote for a candidate who likes and supports Obamacare and is not likely to reform or repeal it.

With a intensity gap yawning like that, “Mend it, don’t end it” doesn’t sound like a winning campaign slogan beyond the confines of Virginia’s 8th Congressional District. We’ll know whether it works with even Democrats in less than a month.

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