If you read some about how President Obama viewed his presidency, you know that he wanted his presidency to be "transformational". In fact, he once criticized President Clinton because he felt that his presidency didn't produce the sort seismic shift in the electorate that President Obama thought was possible in his own presidency.
Well, after seven plus months, it appears he is about to create that very seismic shift he wanted. If you were to take any poll in the first part of the decade, that is before Obama took over, Democrats enjoyed a very healthy advantage over the Republicans on health care. It was a good twenty points. Now, it's about even and getting worse for the Democrats.
It should be obvious to all that the current health care bill will NOT pass. The only thing to determine is what will be the consequences. One consequence is that the president will go back to the drawing board and reallign himself to produce a bill the public will actually like. Another consequence is that the President and the Democrats continue to champion that which the public hates while the Republicans champion that which the public is in favor of.
If you break down health care, I believe the single issue that polls best is tort reform. What are Republicans backing overwhelmingly? Of course, it's tort reform. Meanwhile the Democrats, apparently in deference to the trial lawyers, have left tort reform out of the health care bill entirely. Meanwhile, the issue most associated with the health care bill is the public option and that polls much more poorly.
The president's biggest political blunder was suggesting that he would pay for health care reform by cutting Medicare benefits. The elderly have been a fairly reliable Democratic constituency precisely because of Social Security and Medicare. Now, the president threw them to the wolves and wanted to make massive cuts to the program that made them a constituency. Whatever you think of Medicare, and I personally don't like it, seniors have paid in their entire lives into the system. Now, the president wanted to make sure that the benefits the senior paid their entire lives to deserve were going to be drastically reduced. It was always the Democrats that were the party of Medicare and that's a main reason that seniors favored the party. Now, the same party wanted to make massive cuts to Medicare to pass an unpopular health care bill.
That's a sure fire way to create a seismic shift in the electorate. The president just took the holy grail of Medicare and told seniors he was willing to trample on it. That's a text book way to shift the electorate. Now, I am sure that the president didn't mean for this sort of a seismic electoral shift but he's certainly creating a seismic electoral shift nonetheless. So, I say congratulations Mr. President.
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