In a CBS poll taken before Obama’s Republican health care bill passed, it’s clear the American people saw what was going on. Stupak’s dramatic grandstanding that brought an executive order so he could save face was the finale after the White House final pitch, which was to “save Obama’s presidency” by not handing Pres. Obama a domestic legislative failure on an issue Democrats had taken over a year to pass. As for what the people wanted, a public option, Democrats ignored them, putting politics over the policy people preferred. From the CBS poll:
Asked why Democrats worked to pass a health care bill, 57 percent said “mostly political reasons.” Just 35 percent said it was because Democrats think the bill is good policy.
Americans had an even more cynical view of Republican motivations: Sixty-one percent said Republicans were acting on the basis of political concerns, while 29 percent said Republicans truly believed the bill was bad policy.
Of course, this was before the health care bill passed, so there’s a very good chance once Obama and the Democrats start selling it their fortunes could turn. It’s a better situation if they’d failed, not because they couldn’t have sold the public option in November to voters, but because the media would have savaged Obama and Democrats with headlines of “Obama Fails,” “Democrats Can’t Lead,” “Can Obama Lead?”, crippling their ability to get any further message across.
Both parties rise a bit in the CBS poll, with Republican numbers up over Democrats, though this might not last. We’ll have to see whether the Republican campaign to repeal health care, which is a lost cause as they’ll never get the majorities required to do it, or the Democratic action to sell it, wins out.
While the approval rating for both parties’ handling of health care has risen, it remains low. Thirty-two percent of American approve of how Congressional Democrats are handling health care, an increase of seven points from October. But sixty percent disapprove.
For Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, their approval rating on health care stands at just 25 percent, up from 17 percent in October. Their disapproval rating is 64 percent.
But in the Obama and the Democrats versus Republicans represented by “it’s a baby killer” contingent, aided by the spitting racists, as well as the naysayer conservatives and unhinged right-wing radio, people always choose the victorious over the downers of defeatism.
As for legal challenges, lawsuits to repeal the health care bill are already prepared, Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli ready to file.
Mark Halperin, who protected Obama from all 2008 realities and criticism in “Game Change,” does get this right.
In the 7Â½ months between now and November’s midterm elections, millions of Americans will be whipped into a frenzy over the purported evils in the Democrats’ health care bill, egged on by Fox News chatter, Rush Limbaugh’s daily sermons, threats of state legislative and judicial action and the solemn pledge of Republicans in Washington to make the fall election a referendum on Obamacare. But in doing so, they may be playing right into the Democrats’ hands.
If Obama and his surrogates now sell the bill, Democratic prospects for November just might rise.