It's amazing what just under four years can do in Washington. We're coming up on the anniversary of an infamous Joe Biden gaffe - the hot mic moment when he told Obama that the signing of Obamacare was a "big fucking deal." Well, times have changed more than a little in the intervening years, and the hyped-up and excited Biden has been replaced by an obviously older, subdued, and downright gloomy version of his former self.
The reality of the landmark legislation is setting in, with very few moments of really good news. Numbers are filling the headlines, primarily focusing on the fact that there simply aren't enough people signing up for Obamacare. In Pennsylvania, even those that did sign up may not actually be covered. While Obama keeps pointing out that Obamacare is much more than just the flailing website - Healthcare.gov - one thing obviously got lost in that narrative. In order for people to be covered, the website must function properly. Otherwise, the people have to pay their premiums on their own, without the aid of entering financial information on a site that most experts in the field of internet security would say is not safe for such transactions. So, many Pennsylvanians haven't paid their premiums, if for no other reason because there wasn't a way to do it safely online.
Add to that the confusion of the delays of various requirements under the law - an issue that has many lawmakers up in arms over the president reaching beyond the power of his office - and it is no wonder that Biden is looking at least a little sullen. What is being done with the presidential pen presumably to save Obamacare from self-destructing, is a bad idea when GOP lawmakers propose it in the House. Obama may need to consider whether or not he's actually using a poison pen, because the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office is suggesting that the combination of Obamacare and the recently ordered increase in the minimum wage for Federal contractors is a toxic mix for low-wage earners.
So, it's not surprising that Biden was talking with supporters in hushed tones, looking weary and defeated, as he admitted that the enrollment goal set by the administration would fall short - much lower than anyone else had admitted. Just under four years has taken Biden from being a cheerleader by a hot mic, to quietly saying Obamacare has had a "hell of a start." Does it mean it's really bad when even the profanity Biden chooses gets knocked down a few notches?