David Nather, POLITICO
WASHINGTON (Politico)—A year ago, it looked like Obamacare was going to have a huge role in this year’s elections. And not in a good way — as a symbol of government incompetence and the Republicans’ main case against President Barack Obama’s record.
Now, it’s clear that the health care law is not going to be the centerpiece of the November campaigns, in a good way or a bad way. It’s going to be more like the wallpaper.
Will people notice it? Sure — especially the ones who don’t like wallpaper. Will it make anyone buy a different house, all by itself? Probably not.
It would be an overstatement to say the Affordable Care Act has disappeared from the fall election campaigns. It hasn’t. Republicans are still running attack ads about it, as are outside conservative groups. Democrats are mostly quiet on the law, but occasionally they’ll speak up — as Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas did — to focus on one of its benefits and promise never to let insurance companies run the show again.
But even Republicans who still believe it’s a significant issue, and a damaging one for Democrats despite its benefits, can’t point to races that are likely to be decided on the health care law alone. That’s a big change from last fall, when it looked like the error-filled rollout and cancelled health insurance plans would make Obamacare a huge liability, and probably a decisive one, for all of the red-state Democrats up for re-election this year.