The Race to Reform

Yesterday’s Washington Post’s front page is a study in cross-cutting pressures on our new President. “Poll Shows Obama Slipping on Key Issues” reads the four-column headline.

Amazing. But then, in smaller type, read this: “The Race to Reform.” That lesser headline is the Administration’s answer to the slippage the grim polling figures disclose.

Since his much-hailed 100-day mark last April, President Obama’s handling of health care, the Post’s poll reveals, has declined in public approval from 57 percent to 49 percent. Disapproval has increased from 29 percent to 44 percent.

Of particular worry to this still-new Administration is the hemorrhaging of support among the independents. Among these voters, Obama held a long lead on his health care proposals back in April—53 percent approval to only 30 percent disapproval.

April, T.S. Eliot wrote, is the cruelest month, but today the President can only look back longingly for it. Today, his health care proposals have taken on a sickly pallor among independents. Forty-four percent of them approve what he’s offering; 49 percent disapprove. That’s a stunning loss of 1 in 5 independent voters to the President’s team on health care.

As Mr. Obama’s health care picture has come into focus, more and more Americans are reacting negatively to the scene before them. The Post poll even shows President Obama losing ground among moderate to conservative Democrats. In particular, these Democrats favored spending over fiscal discipline by 2-1 last winter. Now, they are evenly divided as they join the growing chorus of concern over how health care costs will balloon the deficit.

What these numbers do not show is intensity. As more and more Americans learn what could be in store for them and their children, their opposition grows. The more knowledgeable they are, the more strongly they oppose Obamacare.

The President’s team is trying desperately to sell the idea that unless we rein in health care costs, the budget’s red ink will only get redder. The Congressional Budget Office, however, is not singing off the same song sheet. Last week, the CBO scored the latest House version of health care and said it would cost $1.5 Trillion. With Medicare already in deep financial trouble, it strains credulity to think that a huge new government entitlement will reduce costs.

All this explains what the Post yesterday morning called “the race to reform.” The Obama Administration knows that its time is limited. If the President does not ram through a health care plan before the August recess, there is real fear that slipping support will frighten already skittish centrist Democrats in Congress.

The White House’s Rahm Emmanuel is becoming the Administration’s hammer. He’s pressing all Democrats, and pressing them hard, not to allow this to be the second Democratic administration—after the famous Hillary & Bill crackup of 1993-94—to fail to deliver on its promises of major health care legislation. Doubtless Rahm (he might be re-named Ram after all of this) is warning worried Democrats that failure to enact something could result in major GOP gains in the mid-term elections next year.

Enter the abortion question. Over the weekend, the President’s Budget Director, Peter Orszag appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.

WALLACE: Are you prepared to say that in a government public-funded, taxpayer-funded public health insurance plan that no taxpayer money will go to pay for abortions?

ORSZAG: I think that that will wind up being part of the debate. I am not prepared to say explicitly that right now. It’s obviously a controversial issue, and it’s one of the questions that is playing out in this debate.

WALLACE: So you’re not prepared to rule out…

ORSZAG: I’m not prepared to rule it out.

Mark his words well: If abortion is not ruled out, it’s ruled in. This is huge. Ever since 1977, American taxpayers have been spared from the terrible violation of their consciences entailed in killing unborn children with their tax dollars.

Democrats and Republicans have supported the Hyde Amendment that prevents U.S. tax dollars from going to this cruel and unjust practice. Even Democratic President Jimmy Carter supported the Hyde Amendment—and signed it. Republican Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush all staunchly backed the Hyde Amendment. Under Democratic President Bill Clinton—with Bill and Hillary strongly backing the repeal of the Hyde Amendment—a Democratic Congress refused to go along.

If ever there was a bi-partisan consensus, it is that Americans should not be forced to pay for the killing of the unborn. It’s a matter of conscience. It’s a matter of domestic tranquility. What Peter Orszag and his boss, President Obama, are “not prepared to rule out” is the tearing up of the enduring social contract between our government and our fellow citizens – the tough cord of governance by “We, the People” woven through our long history.

Millions of Americans who are not actively pro-life nonetheless do not support federal subsidies for abortion. They recognize that federal funding of abortion is a form of coercion: Compelling people to pay for something that their most fundamental moral convictions rebel against.
That’s why President Obama and his hard-Left congressional allies have to move fast.

They must ram this measure through a fretful Congress before millions of pro-life Democrats and independents awaken to the fact that their money will be going to kill future taxpayers. Perhaps it’s this growing realization of the danger they face that is producing—for the first time—a Gallup Poll that says 51 percent of Americans regard themselves as pro-life.

It is indeed a “race to reform.” Liberals are riding the Pale Horse. They will not accept a health care plan that does not include funding for abortion-on-demand. Every pro-life American must understand what the pro-life House Democrats already understand—unless abortion is specifically ruled out, it’s in. Your U.S. Representative and your two U.S. Senators need to know how you think—and now.