Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Week the Health Care Plan Turned South on the Democratic Leadership

In a host of polls published near and at the end of July, just as the Democrats were rushing to pass various health care bills through congressional committees, support for health care reform was dramatically declining as was President Obama’s approval rating.

Contrary to Democratic partisan strategists, health care support among Americans did not decline due to misinformation. The collapse happened just as the debate about health care increased and Democrats began a major push to rush bills through committee and to floor votes. At that point, Democrats controlled the discussion, not radio talk show hosts. The biggest blow in mid-June was the CBO report that the Democratic House proposal would add billions to the deficit and do little to hold down health care costs – hardly misinformation. After that report, the likelihood of a bill before the August recess became zero.

Democrats looked fearful of the August recess. And, wisely so, the August town hall meetings have tossed Democrats on the defensive and required Obama to jump in and use his considerable talent to tamp down the revolt.

The reasons for the collapse are much more related to the cumulative impact of the Obama agenda, especially the spending, and the continuing languishing of the economy.

Wall St. Journal article
New York Times article
Gallup July 29 article
Washington Post article
Gallup July 21 article

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