If there was one lesson learned that came out of the congressional battle over the shutdown, it was that Democrats were united and Republicans were not.
We’ve already discussed the GOP divisions in detail. Democrats, vulnerable or not, Red State or Blue State, all stuck together. But now there may be some cracks.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a conservative Blue Dog Dem who has pretty much marched to his own drum, announced Wednesday he would support legislation that would delay the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate to purchase insurance for a year. He cited the widespread difficulty in gaining access to the Obamacare website, a frustration that many Democrats – including President Obama – share.
But delaying the mandate for a year was one of the conditions that House Republicans demanded in their shutdown battle, a demand that Obama said was completely unacceptable. The Democrats stayed firm and the GOP was forced to back down.
Manchin has never been a fan of the individual mandate to begin with, so his move is not a complete surprise. But with the battle over funding the government over – for now at least – we may see an increasing number of Democrats urging the delay. Of course, that’s too little and too late for Speaker John Boehner or anyone in his party to have benefited during the government funding crisis. But that crisis was so October. There’s always a new one on the horizon.