Friday, September 25, 2009

Health-Care Reform Back Story: Obama Floats His Boat, Beavis & Butthead Gloat

Herewith a seemingly rash prediction that will become less so with the passage of time and the eventual approval of some version of health-care reform legislation: While the media and punditocracy have portrayed President Obama as being tossed like a ship in a stormy sea as the debate has played out, in the end he will get pretty much what he wants and what Americans deserve.

It may take a while for the back story to emerge, but don't be surprised if there is a chapter on the health-care imbroglio in Obama's memoirs, which for the purposes of this post we'll call Eight Years Before the Mast, and it turns out this shrewd strategist anticipated from the jump that Republicans would not accept any kind of reform (which has occurred) while Blue Dog Democrats would provide an additional obstacle (ditto), but a compromise would be reached that included some sort of public option.

You read it here first, folks.

* * * * *
Yes, Americans are confused, frustrated and angry, and much of that is because of a government that doesn't seem to be able to shoot straight much of the time. But most Americans are not crazy, which also explains why Obama will prevail on health-care reform.

Providing access to decent health care based on need and not on the ability to pay is
not a partisan issue, but Republicans have worked hard to make it one while whining every step of the way. My personal favorite is their plaint that action on reform "is moving too quickly." The reality, of course, is there has not been any reform whatsoever for decades and 45 million Americans are uninsured and 25 million more underinsured, while 45,000 die each year because they lack insurance.

This explains why a careful reading of polls show the Party of Beavis and Butthead to be held in such low esteem.

While public-opinion polls are merely snapshots in time, a new
NBC-Wall Street Journal poll jointly conducted by Democratic and Republican pollsters reveals that while there is great turmoil in the hustings over reform, 45 percent of those polled approve of the way Obama is dealing with it while only 21 percent approve of the GOP's approach. The same poll shows that 43 percent view the Republicans negatively and 28 percent positively.

* * * * *
Speaking of polls, the conventional wisdom holds that the Republicans' "Just Say No" strategy might enable them to take back the House in the 2010 election. The Democrats picked up 21 seats in 2008 and some pundits are predicting a GOP gain of as many as 30 seats. Well, as it often is, the conventional wisdom is wrong.

First, the party is acting in its own self interest, not the interest of voters.

Second, generic polling this far from an election invariably produces positive but distorted results for the party out of power.

Third, if my prediction is true and a decent health-care reform plan is enacted, the recession does indeed ease and is not in the midst of a dead-cat bounce, and the Iraq troop withdrawal continues apace, the GOP will have "lost" on three pretty hefty issues.

While it is true that the dark shadow of George Bush will be long gone in 2010, it's difficult to see Republicans making wholesale gains.

Obama caricature by

No comments: