Will 2014 Be a Tough Year for Obama's Allies?
The failed launch of Obamacare was one of the top stories of 2013. But the impact of the President's health care law is just one factor that could make 2014 another tough year for his allies.
This is an election year, and many Americans are looking to bring change to Washington.
Voters from both red and blue states are very divided, but one thing brings them together: They're not happy with Washington.
"Well, I think people's frustration with Washington is perfectly placed. They ought to be frustrated," David Plouffe, senior Obama advisor, said during Regent University's Clash of the Titans.
For Democrats like Plouffe, the Tea Party and congressional Republicans block progress with their attacks on the deficit and threats of government shutdown.
"Because if your whole m.o. is, you know, we're gonna kind of burn the house down in order to save it, you know, that's not gonna work, " Plouffe said. "And we do have a divided government, and that's just reality. And by the way, I don't think that's going to change any time soon, '14,'16, '18, nobody can predict."
But conservatives believe the left, aided by the mainstream media, threatens the very roots of American freedom along with the country's fiscal well-being.
"If you are a faith-based conservative and you believe that Christianity has a major role to play in life and your values are derived from the Bible, you are the mortal opponent of at least half the news media," Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker, said at Clash of the Titans.
"This isn't a question of, you know, bad coverage, or you know -- they are on the other team. And so you have to start and understand that," he continued.
The year ahead will also mark the start of the 2016 presidential campaign.
Conservatives, like former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, claim the attacks from the left come straight out of the playbook for radicals.
"You identify whoever the person is, who's giving voice to conservative goals and positions. You identify that target, you quote 'paint' the target, you freeze the target and you malign the target -- you ridicule, mock, lie about them," Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., said.
Bachmann, who retires from Congress next year, said the climate has been worse.
"And unfortunately, the people on the conservative side tend to take their cues from the left-wing media. And so conservatives will decide, 'that person is toxic -- I guess we can't have anything to do with that person anymore,'" she argued.
"And so they'll stop volunteering, they'll stop donating, they'll stop voting for them, they'll stop being a part of that person," she warned.
Democrats will have their hands full in this year's congressional elections as they try to govern from the White House while convincing voters that Democrats should control both the House and Senate.
"One of the things we have to avoid doing is treating the period between elections as an opportunity to position ourselves for the next elections. There ought to be a period of governing, a period of cooperation," David Axelrod, former senior Obama advisor, said at the Clash of the Titans.
"I'm still hopeful that there are things we can get done in the next year that will be useful to the country," he continued.
The big monkey wrench could be Obamacare, which polls show the public still strongly opposes.
Democratic strategists say they're not worried.
"There's no doubt that it's gonna have to be improved upon going forward, and that's where both parties -- it's the law of the land. I think that's not going to change," Plouffe said.
For Republicans and conservatives, a key to mobilizing angry voters could be to focus more on what they support than what they oppose.
"I think there's a huge potential American majority -- not a Republican majority, not a narrow conservative majority," Gingrich suggested.
"But a majority that is sick of Washington, sick of bureaucracy, sick of failure, sick of deficits and wants something new that gives their children and grandchildren a better future," he added.