WASHINGTON—The Obama administration announced it will begin exploiting “extraordinary measures” to ensure the viability of the president’s political legacy.
Unless Republicans agree to further damage their party’s relative standing with another impolitic government shutdown, the White House indicated that it will continue to delay the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, thereby defusing the last hope Republicans have of regaining political traction.
Late Wednesday, the administration made its first move by postponing, for six weeks, the date by which Americans without health insurance coverage could avoid the individual mandate’s fine.
“The delay will continue indefinitely, in six-week increments, until we see adequate movement in public support for the president’s policies,” threatened White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. “The president is putting the Republican-controlled House on notice. We can do this the easy way or the hard way.”
Speaker John Boehner revealed no desire to play into another of the administration’s traps, saying, “This isn’t some damn game. All we want is to sit down and have a discussion.”
The public may not want to listen. Nearly 70 percent believes that Boehner should be replaced as speaker of the House, according to a recent poll that also revealed a 12 percent Congressional approval rating. CNN Polling Director Keating Holland noted, “Barack Obama’s numbers are pretty anemic, but he remains in much better shape than the GOP,” which took a “shellacking” during the unpopular and ineffectual shutdown.
Since then, Republicans have tried to refocus their efforts from defunding Obamacare to investigating problems with its rollout. Although a majority of Americans remain opposed to Obamacare, its approval has increased recently, making it significantly more popular than the Republican Party. The administration wants to continue the trend but would prefer to divert attention away from the error-ridden HealthCare.gov website.
“You know,” President Obama told the press, “back in my last campaign, I warned Republicans that I was not about to hand over the keys to the car after they drove it into an economic ditch.”
“But after seeing what the GOP’s penchant for wanting to steer us off various fiscal cliffs has done to distract the country from other hot-button issues,” continued the president, “I’m ready to let Ted Cruz control the wheel until I can get things back on track in the White House.”