Depending on where you stand on the political spectrum, a Presidential Climb Down is either horribly embarrassing, or a war-whoop triumph.
But President Obama's epic climb-down on Obamacare has both opponents and supporters cheering, though there is a difference is tone, one muted, the other gratified to be proven right.
Obamacare opponents have been saying for years that the employer mandate provisions of the law were going to cause employers to fire workers, cut their hours, and refuse to hire. Obamacare proponents (is it really necessary to name them? Ok, Nancy Pelosi for one) dismissed these warnings as hysterics by Republicans and conservatives who would never support nationalized health care in any case.
Now President Obama, fearing a rout in the 2014 midterm elections, has abruptly put off the employer mandate for a year.
This was a stunner, no doubt. Employer groups, which hated the mandate, weren't even asking for a delay. This just came out of the Democrat blue.
So we have relief among democrats. And we have opponents saying, told ya so. Even Obama now agrees with the people who were warning of the bad effects of the law.
While this bold and surprising move was, in part, stepping off the tracks to avoid an oncoming train, it was also a bit of clever deviousness. Obama couldn't get the NFL to help in promoting the insurance exchanges, the effort to get people to sign up for Obamacare. But now employers have a year to shove employees off to the exchanges without facing a fine for not providing employer insurance. That means millions of employers will be doing Obamacare's PR work: "Hey, we're not doing health insurance anymore here at Acme Widgets, so you worker bees need to go get you some Obamacare." That advice will be repeated millions and millions of times over the next year.
But whatever benefits come Obama's way and also help congressional Dems, this move still stands as an admission of error, a stipulation that a very important of the big universal medical coverage dream was a big mistake, and that those who said it was a mistake were absolutely correct.