The wannabe-socialists who pull the levers of the Democratic Party in America today have developed a narrative on the healthcare plan Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama are currently trying to push through Congress. That narrative goes that virtually everyone is unhappy with their healthcare plan, is in favor of massive change to the healthcare system, favors Obama’s healthcare plan, and especially favors the so-called “public option.” They are currently busy trying to sell this narrative (which they have created out of whole cloth) to the Blue Dogs and other Democrats who are beginning to get worried about a backlash in 2010. The goal is to convince fence-sitting Democrats and Republicans that their fears of a backlash are totally unfounded and are just being artificially ginned up by the right-wing attack machine. (See, e.g., this hilarious piece at DailyKos for an example of liberals pushing this narrative. – Note by Jeff: as well as this takedown of that DK narrative)
The only problem with this narrative is that there is no aspect of it which is true. A FoxNews poll from June of this year showed that 89 per cent of Americans are happy with their own health care, and that even a majority of those without health insurance say that they receive health care and are happy with it. A Rasmussen poll released July 22nd revealed that Obama’s healthcare plan is opposed by 53% of Americans overall, including 60% of independents. Now comes the latest bit of bad news for Obama’s healthcare plan. A WSJ/NBC News poll taken July 24-27 indicates that the public is broadly dissatisfied with everything about the Obama/Pelosi plan, including the manner in which Obama is pushing it:
Forty-six percent of Americans disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the issue of health care reform compared to 41 percent who give him positive marks, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted July 24-27. Thirteen percent are undecided.
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Forty-two percent say the plan Obama is pushing is a bad idea, 36 percent say it is a good idea and 17 percent have no opinion. That compares to June when 32 percent said it was a bad idea, 33 percent labeled it a good idea and 30 percent had no opinion.
Thirty-nine percent believe that under Obama’s plan their health care will get worse, 29 percent say it will stay the same and 21 percent say it will get better. In April, 24 percent said it would get worse, 29 percent said it would stay the same and 22 percent said it would get better
What has to be troubling for Obama and Pelosi is not just the fact that the absolute numbers are bad, but also that each of the polls indicate that the trend in public opinion is moving away from support for Obama’s plan as the public learns more about it. Given what we learned today about the compromise negotiated with the Blue Dogs, it appears that these trends will have at least another two months to percolate, and for the fence-sitting Congressmen to hear from their constituents.
The other major problem is that there are only two people with the national stature and vested interest in seeing this bill passed through (whatever its political cost) are Obama and Pelosi. Pelosi remains vastly unpopular among the public at large, and sending her out to convince people in Arkansas that Mike Ross ought to vote for Obamacare would be an unmitigated disaster. Up until this point, Obamacare at least had Obama’s relative popularity in its back pocket, but now it appears that whatever people think of Obama himself, they are not buying what he is selling on his healthcare plan. And as the vote on the plan gets kicked down the road further and further, it becomes more certain that either the bill will die, or the political careers of those who vote for it will die while it lives.