Monday, September 07, 2009

Obama takes to the campaign trail

Someday this bright, energetic man with flawless judgment might make it to the White House:

President Obama delivered a rousing campaign-style pitch on Monday for his proposed health care overhaul, telling thousands of cheering union workers at a Labor Day picnic here that Congress should stop debating because "it’s time to act and get this done."

As he tries to resurrect his health proposal, Mr. Obama has been under intense pressure from Congressional leaders to lay out specifically what he wants. Aides said he will do so in the speech on Wednesday.
Mr. Obama did not offer details on Monday – "I want you all to tune in," he told the crowd - but he did give a few hints of what is to come.
Those few hints were telling a handpicked crowd of union workers that he'd like to see the public option, but he won't push for it, since he's merely a candidate for the Presidency.

I strongly suspect that Wednesday's address to Congress will be an hour-long harangue. There will be no new details as Obama casts himself as the avenging advocate for the little guy, fighting the bureaucracy of Congress. He doesn't want to get his hands dirty by taking a position on anything and Congress isn't about to stick its collective neck out, especially when the polls show dwindling support for federal health-care reform. This whole thing's going down in a heap and Obama's going to disappointed with all of us.


Anonymous said...

...especially when the polls show dwindling support for federal health-care reform.

Eh, not so much.

"A new survey by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates for the AARP reveals widespread uncertainty about the nature of the "public option" -- a government-run health insurance policy that would be offered along with private policies in the newly-created health insurance exchanges. Just 37 percent of the poll's respondents correctly identified the public option from a list of three choices provided to them:

It is tempting to attribute these results to attempts by conservatives to blur the distinctions of the health care debate. And surely that is part of the story. But it may not be all that much of it. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to correctly identify the public option in this poll, but not by all that wide a margin -- 41 percent versus 34 percent. Meanwhile, 35 percent of Republicans thought the public option refers to "creating a national healthcare system like they have in Great Britain" -- but so did 23 percent of Democrats.

This should serve as something of a reality check for people on both sides of the public option debate. If the respondents had simply chosen randomly among the three options provide to them, 33 percent would have selected the correct definition for the public option. Instead, only 37 percent did (although 23 percent did not bother to guess).

...This is also why relatively small changes in wording can trigger dramatic shifts in support for the public option, which has been as high as 83 percent in some polls and as low as 35 percent in others depending on who is doing the polling and how they're asking the questions. You don't see those sorts of discrepancies when polling about, say, gay marriage or the death penalty, where the options are a little bit more self-evident.

...More generally, there seems to be a sort of arm's-race on both sides of the debate to conduct crappy, manipulative polls on health care reform, and the public option in particular. This poll belongs in the 'crap' pile, as do most of the others. Defenders of the public option, however, should have little to fret about: the most neutrally and accurately-worded polls on the public option -- these are the ones from Quinnipiac and Time/SRBI -- suggest that their position is in the majority, with 56-62 percent of the public supporting the public option and 33-36 percent opposed."

Anonymous said...

"...with 56-62 percent of the public supporting the public option..."

Gosh darn it. If only Democrats controlled the White House, the Supreme Court & and Congress with fillibuster-proof majorities, maybe we could STOP those wiley conservatives.

But they're just to powerful & sneaky. Heaven help us.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's the Democrats' logistical snag, exactly. Pelosi and Reid can't count.

Or maybe, if particular politicians in both parties didn't owe more than half their campaign chests to the health care/insurance industry -- donations given in exchange for blocking a deal -- passage might be easier.

It's so baffling! Who can possibly say which premise carries more weight?