The Obamacare Soothsayer Awards: The envelope, please!
Today we honor the Obamacare doomsday seers, because it takes a special kind of courage to prognosticate catastrophe with so much gung-ho certitude.
And no fair peeking at the prizewinners listed at the bottom. Let's give everyone their moment in the sun.
The soothsayers, once so confident about the imminent apocalypse, have since slammed into the brick wall of factual reality, and we can only imagine their pain. The pain of learning that eight million Americans have enrolled on the health exchanges - surpassing even the sunniest goals. The pain of realizing that way more than eight million have signed up overall. The pain of hearing that the Congressional Budget Office is now forecasting lower-than-expected Obamacare costs. The pain of noticing (via Gallup and the Urban Institute) that the percentage of uninsured Americans has fallen. The pain of learning that health insurers are increasingly bullish about Obamacare, that more firms want to join the health exchanges, that two major firms are already primed to expand their offerings.
Remember - last summer, autumn, and winter - when the doom merchants were so chatty? Let's meander at random down memory lane...
Sen. Mitch McConnell: "Obamacare is a catastrophe for health care. This is beyond fixing. It needs to be pulled out root and branch."
Intrinsic punchline Darrell Issa: "It is time for the president to finally acknowledge Obamacare isn't working."
Kurt Schlichter, on the conservative Townhall.com website: "Obamacare won't die in 2014, but it will be in the political intensive-care unit. It is a disaster."
House Speaker John Boehner: "(Obamacare) is a rolling calamity that must be scrapped. When you step back and look at the totality of this, I don't think it's ever going to work."
Sean Hannity on Fox News: "I like to call it Mission Impossible."
Bill O'Reilly on Fox News: "Obama will not recover from the health care debacle...the Obamacare situation is going to get worse."
Rudy Giuliani on Fox News: "(Obamacare) is something that is going to be an absolute total disaster if it actually starts to get implemented."
Steve Hayes on Fox News: "(The website) is not going to be solved in the next couple of months or in six or eight months...Obamacare could collapse on itself."
Sen. Charles Grassley: "The administration will limp along with this pitiful signup process."
Sen. Ted Cruz: "(Obamacare) isn't working. At this point, you can't fiddle around the edges. Let's start over. Let's repeal every word of it."
Victor David Hanson, last November in the conservative National Review: "In the next 90 days (Obama) will have to abandon most of Obamacare."
A February headline on the conservative Daily Caller website: "New enrollment numbers suggest Obamacare is hurtling toward failure."
A forecaster on teaparty.org: "Obamacare is going to be repealed well in advance of (the midterm) election. Obamacare has become the domestic policy equivalent of the Iraq war - a protracted fiasco. The momentum toward repeal will be unstoppable."
Steve Hayward at Forbes, writing in mid-November: "Even if HealthCare.gov is fixed by the end of the month - unlikely - Obamacare is going to be repealed well in advance of next year’s election."
Fourth prize, Chris Christie on the radio in late November: “This is a disaster and it was a train wreck that anybody who’s managed anything, ever, in their lives, could’ve seen coming...This entire Obamacare program is a failure."
Third prize, Karl Rove - natch - on Fox News last month: "There's no way they're going to get anywhere close (to seven million health exchange signups). It just ain't gonna happen."
Second prize, Bill "Stop Me Before I"m Wrong Again" Kristol, last November: "Obamacare is failing and will fail." Kristol, last summer: "Just as economic shortages were endemic to Soviet control planning, the coming Obamacare train wreck is endemic to big government liberalism." (The coming Obamacare train wreck...yawn...Here's Kristol in 2007: "Barack Obama is not going to beat Hillary Clinton in a single Democratic primary.")
And the Prince of Darkness grand prize, Charles Krauthammer on Fox News: "Let the disaster unfold...When the other guy is committing suicide, get out of the way. I've always thought that the reality of Obamacare, which you saw coming, which I saw coming, that the whole conservative movement saw coming - it's all coming true!"
Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1