Obama’s health care summit was a bust with voters. The latest Rasmussen presidential tracking poll, which tracks likely-voter responses over three consecutive days, two of which were after the health care summit, clearly shows that the Democrats’ plans for a government-run health care system remains as unpopular as ever. In fact, more than ever.
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows that 22% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-three percent (43%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -21. That matches the lowest Approval Index rating yet recorded for Obama.
The only other time the Approval Index was this low was in late December just as the Senate was about to pass its version of Obamacare.
The threat of Obama’s health care take over is clearly a serious threat to Democrat re-election prospects in November. Commentators and pundits are already predicting that the Democrats could easily lose control of the House and while it remains a long shot, even the Senate. Can we therefore assume that Obamacare is dead? A lot of Republicans think so based upon what they assume to be the political instincts of their Democrat colleagues, i.e., the first rule in politics is to get re-elected.
There are two competing theories on this and one of them should scare the snot out of us. Andy McCarthy reminds us that this in not our father’s Democrat party. The Democrat party currently in power is under the grips of the radical left, descendants of the New Left Radicals of the 1960’s. Writing at The Corner, McCarthy says this:
I hear Republicans getting giddy over the fact that “reconciliation,” if it comes to that, is a huge political loser. That’s the wrong way to look at it. The Democratic leadership has already internalized the inevitablility of taking its political lumps. That makes reconciliation truly scary. Since the Dems know they will have to ram this monstrosity through, they figure it might as well be as monstrous as they can get wavering Democrats to go along with. Clipping the leadership’s statist ambitions in order to peel off a few Republicans is not going to work. I’m glad Republicans have held firm, but let’s not be under any illusions about what that means. In the Democrat leadership, we are not dealing with conventional politicians for whom the goal of being reelected is paramount and will rein in their radicalism. They want socialized medicine and all it entails about government control even more than they want to win elections. After all, if the party of government transforms the relationship between the citizen and the state, its power over our lives will be vast even in those cycles when it is not in the majority. This is about power, and there is more to power than winning elections, especially if you’ve calculated that your opposition does not have the gumption to dismantle your ballooning welfare state.
Dennis Prager is another voice making a similar argument. Pointing out that leftists are True Believers, Prager says:
Leftism is a substitute religion. For the Left, the “health care” bill transcends politics. You are fighting people who will go down with the ship in order to transform this country to a leftist one. And an ever-expanding state is the Left’s central credo.
On a more hopeful side of this debate is Ed Morrissey of Hot Air with the central question: Are Democrat’s Choosing To Run Off The Cliff With Obamacare? First, Morrissey concedes that McCarthy has a point. A party in power that is run by zealots might choose to ram through their fundamental plan to remake the entire relationship between citizen and state, and accept defeat in the next election as an acceptable trade-off. Especially if they assume the Republicans, even after they regain power, don’t have the scones to repeal it.
But Morrissey finds weakness in that argument:
However, that would require all of the politicians of that party to follow suit, and that’s where the Democratic leadership has a big problem. They didn’t gain the majority by elect[ing] over 300 cardboard cutouts of Nancy Pelosi as Representatives and Senators. While Andy is spot-on about Pelosi and her clique being descendants of the New Left radicals of the 1960s (as is Barack Obama), that’s not true for a large portion of their caucus, especially those representing red districts and red states. Not only is political suicide much more likely for them than it is for Pelosi, Anthony Weiner, Jarrold Nadler, et al, they’re temperamentally different from the leadership clique as well.
That doesn’t mean that they can’t get bulldozed into compliance, but it does make it a more difficult proposition for Pelosi to hold her caucus together. We’re already seeing signs of it splintering [Pelosi Losing Grip On The House?] and as this effort gets closer to the midterm elections, that will increase proportionately. Blue Dogs are already unhappy with the direction of ObamaCare — and so are progressives, but for diametrically opposed reasons. The summit may have helped to pull recalcitrant moderates in line, but Democrats got punked at the televised spectacle and have no fig leaf to wear to support a radical mechanism in pushing through a radical bill.
Andy may be right that Democratic leadership has made the decision that political oblivion is an acceptable cost for a one-time remaking of America that Republicans will find difficult to reverse in the next session. However, I suspect that this strategy doesn’t account for the fact that the people who will actually have to end their careers may not appreciate getting forced into marching off a cliff while the leadership stays safely in their rear-echelon bastions of San Francisco and New York City.
There is a twist to this that I have heard. Some Democrats may believe that by giving up on Obamacare the radical left base of the Democrat party may be too disillusioned to vote in November. They may therefore believe that passing Obamacare, while it will devastate them in November, may be better for them because the losses will not be as bad so long as the radical left faithfully shows up at the polls.
I disagree with this take because it ignores history and the fundamental differences between Republican voters and True Believers on the left. Republicans voters do have a long history of staying home on election day whenever they are dissatisfied with the Republican candidates. No such thing exists to any great extent on the radical left. That is where the term “yellow dog” comes from. No matter how much a true believing leftist hates the current Democrat candidate, he or she hates the Republican more. That person would vote for an old yellow dog before any Republican. Nor will that person sit out the election knowing that it will help Republicans. Defeating Republicans is always first and foremost with the radical left.
Democrat politicians know this. That’s why they just passed an extension of the Patriot Act, and Obama quietly signed it this morning, even though their radical left base will be livid about it.
Kevin McCullough is a columnist who predicted Obama’s election to the White House a year before it happened. McCullough has followed Obama since he was first noticed as a community agitator in Chicago. McCullough’s column today is titled Why Obama’s Great Bet Will Fail.
It’s a fascinating debate. Well, it would be if it were not so disgusting. If it’s true that Democrats are now operating in the mode of the Japanese Army at Saipan, it could get bloody. The next six weeks will tell.