They may not have gotten many concessions on Obamacare during the latest fiscal fight, but Republicans believe they’ll have another chance to make their case on the health-reform law in the 2014 elections. Democrats aren’t so sure.
Seventy-one percent of the GOP insiders surveyed by National Journal this week said the issue would be “very important” in the coming elections. “Even low-information voters will have figured out what an abomination it is by then,” said one.
Just 2 percent of Republicans surveyed said it was “not important,” and the rest were in between.
Democrats were much less likely to believe the success or travails of the law’s first year would be the key issue for voters. Just 32 percent thought it would be “very important” in the coming fight, and 12 percent said it wouldn’t be important at all. The majority said it was “somewhat important.” In comments, they offered a common caveat: It depends on whether the glitches that have plagued the law’s rollout since Oct. 1 are fixed, and how quickly.
“If it goes well, it will only be a base issue for Republicans,” said one Democrat. “If it goes poorly, as it has so far, it will be a serious issue.”
Obamacare’s rocky rollout got a break from front-page headlines this week as a federal government shutdown dragged on and a national default loomed. During those uncertain fiscal times, it was tempting to reminisce about the past, and National Journal also asked insiders who had been the most effective president in the past 30 years.
Democrats overwhelmingly ““ 75 percent ““ named Bill Clinton (“Intelligence, charisma and a good economy, stupid,” said one). Republicans even more overwhelmingly ““ 89 percent ““ pointed to Ronald Reagan (“Turning around the economy, defeating communism, restoring faith in the future — these are not small things.”)
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."