"It really is extraordinary in a lot of ways. Republicans were absolutely convinced that the antipathy toward the ACA would be the ticket to victory," Norm Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told TPM. "Now they still may have a ticket to victory, but it's not going to be that."
Ornstein called the GOP's singular focus on attacking Obamacare -- and inability to foresee that it would eventually collapse on them -- "a textbook case of mass psychology."
"They basically worked themselves up into a frenzy over the notion that this was a government takeover of health care and socialism," he said. "I think they convinced themselves that this was so awful, that they denied any objective reality."
The evidence that Obamacare has lost its salience as a political attack has been mounting in recent months, as the 2014 elections kick into gear. The latest clue is a Wednesday report from the New York Times that analyzed official releases from congressional offices. This summer compared to last, the number of releases related to Obamacare fell from 530 to 138.
"The relative dearth of Obamacare-titled statements this August shows that (Republicans) have found other issues to raise with constituents as the midterm elections approach," the Times's Derek Willis wrote, "like investigations into the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Veterans Affairs."