Wednesday, October 23, 2013

In-Flight Warning: Stay On Target

With as much media hype as the sputtering rollout of Healthcare.gov has received this past week, we understand how you might have gotten the impression large sections of the internet were somehow frozen and broken. However, not only is most of the internet working fine - you're reading this online right now - but the main portal for Obamacare is indeed functional, and getting better all the time.

We don't want to appear as though we're ignoring the problems. In fact, as Brian Beutler of Salon pointed out on Tuesday, it's actually a very good thing that we're drawing some attention to the failures of the website now, before it's too late to fix the problems.

Still, as both Lucia Graves and Jonathan Cohn pointed out, the rough start to the federal health insurance exchange doesn't really matter that much. The next few weeks - specifically, between now and Thanksgiving - are really going to be the ones that count. Then the system will either work or it won't.

So while the machines of Obamacare may cough and sputter now like some wheezing airplane, the two major subjects you should be keeping your eyes on right now are 'Jobs and The Economy,' and the Icarus-like collapse of the Republican Party.

We've been saying it regularly for years now, and both Greg Sargent and Ryan Cooper echoed that refrain perfectly this week, noting that virtually every fight Democrats and the left have this fall should be about jobs - especially in the budget battle now happening on Capitol Hill.

Tuesday's delayed release of the September jobs numbers made that clear to anyone who knows how to read the data. While the jobs numbers were in positive territory, and the unemployment rate dropped again, the numbers still weren't the kind of figures that anyone who truly wants the economy to sharply improve would like.

One of the key factors that became obvious with September's jobs numbers is that Obamacare is not ruining the economy the way Republicans thought it would. In short, Obamacare isn't turning full-time jobs into part-time jobs. In fact, most of the jobs growth this year has been from full-time jobs.

Which means both Republicans and their right-wing media parrots have been lying about the effects of Obamacare on the economy all along.

As a slew of awful polls has already pointed out this week, Americans no longer like or trust Republicans - and that includes the extremists in the GOP. As Steve Benen's crystal clear chart showed on Tuesday, there is no more distinct group Americans dislike and feel betrayed by right now than the Republican Party.

That, frankly, is not a good thing.

President Obama and Congressional Democrats are attempting to get the American economy back off the ground, and flying high once again. It doesn't help that our nation's entire right wing seems to be seriously broken and won't easily be repaired.

If Americans want to keep focused on what we, collectively, think is important - namely, more jobs and a rapidly improving economy - it might help if we all kept our attention zeroed in on the target of an improved economy, instead of constantly pointing at the latest healthcare website computer glitch.