True Courage is Admitting When You're Wrong

President Obama is still travelling the country carrying the unenviable task of trying to sell the American people on health care reform. In his latest speech to a crowd in Strongsville, Ohio he said ,

“The American people want to know if it’s still possible for Washington to look out for their interests. For their future. So what they’re looking for is some courage. They’re waiting for us to act. They’re waiting for us to lead. They don’t want us putting our finger out to the wind. They don’t want us reading polls. They want us to look and see what is the best thing for America and then, do what’s right.”

A headline by Philip Klein of American Thinker sums up Obama’s contradiction perfectly – “Obama: The American People Don’t Want Us to Consider Polls of the American People.” After all, if the President really wants to look out for the interests of the people shouldn’t he pay attention to what the people are saying?  And what they’re saying is, get rid of this bill.

Last month, a CNN poll showed that 73% of voters want Congress to either stop working on health care reform altogether or stop this bill and start work on a new bill. A poll released today by Independent Women’s Voice shows that if anything, support among voters is dropping. When voters are asked whether you’ve become more or less supportive over the last 10 days – 55% have become less supportive, with 42% much less supportive, while only 29% are more supportive, with 16% much more supportive.

Among some other takeaways from the poll:

  • 67% disagreed with the idea that the way to improve the health care system is through a government mandate
  • 81% agree that health care reform should be focused on bringing down the costs rather than focusing on expanding coverage
  • 64% say that we as a nation cannot afford health care legislation
  • 69% say that health care reform is distracting the government from more immediate priorities

But even as Obama is saying “they don’t want us to put a finger out to the wind” he’s working hard to massage the poll numbers in his favor. A report today from CBS White House correspondent Chip Reid says ,

“The White House is circulating polls on Capitol Hill that show that instead of this being unpopular, now finally it’s about even, that the support for health care reform is on the rise.”

Going beyond digging up some favorable numbers, Joel Benenson, the lead pollster for Obama, has attempted to spin previously negative polls.  In an op-ed for the Washington Post Benenson wrote ,

“Once reform passes, the tangible benefits Americans will realize will trump the fear-mongering rhetoric opponents are stoking today. . . And when that reality kicks in, the political burden will shift from those who supported the plan to those who voted against [it].”

This is political posturing at its finest. Step 1: say that polls aren’t important – what’s important is doing what is right; Step 2: tout favorable poll numbers to show voters support it; and Step 3: dismiss poor polling and say people’s opinion will change once you pass it. Hard to lose the game if those were the rules. Unfortunately, Democrats in Congress aren’t buying it.

According to Reid , Democrats are “incredibly nervous” and “they’re quivering in their boots.”New polling shows that Democrats have reason to worry. 60% of voters said they would vote for a candidate who opposes the current version of health care, while only 32% said they would vote for a candidate who supports it.

President Obama was correct when he said Americans are looking for some courage. But courage is only a virtue if it is tempered by wisdom. Sometimes the most courageous path of all is to concede you were wrong.

by Brandon Greife, Political Director of the College Republican National Committee

Read more: www.collegerepublicans.org