Yesterday the White House circulated a memo by pollster Joel Benenson. It was designed to create momentum for Obamacare by convincing wayward House Democrats that support for the President’s plan has been building since the State of the Union. As with everything else that comes out of the White House on health care these days, the memo is nothing but pure fantasy.
This Tuesday, Gallup released its latest poll showing that by a 48%-45% margin Americans would tell their representative in Congress to vote against President Obama’s health plan. Compare that to the last time Gallup asked the question in January, Americans supported the President’s plan 49%-46%. That’s a net six point loss in support for the President’s plan since the State of the Union. That is momentum. Against Obamacare.
And Gallup isn’t alone. The Associated Press released a poll this week showing that 68% of Americans believe the President and Congressional Democrats shouldn’t pass their health care plan without Republican support. “Nothing has been more disconcerting than to watch Democratic politicians and their media supporters deceive themselves into believing that the public favors the Democrats’ current health-care plan,” Democratic pollsters Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen add in today’s Washington Post, “A solid majority of Americans opposes the massive health-reform plan.”
Yesterday was particularly tough for the President’s plan. First, the White House underwhelmed the Democratic Caucus in a presentation of the new (still unwritten) reconciliation bill. Then, the Senate Parliamentarian killed the Democrats favored procedural path for passage by signaling he would rule that President Obama must sign the original Senate bill into law before the Senate could act on the President’s new reconciliation package. Finally, the Associated Press reported that House leaders have abandoned all hope of finding language to satisfy Rep. Bart Stupak’s (D-MI) concerns that the Senate bill funds abortion. By the end of the day, the leftist firedoglake site had dropped its count of committed House Democrats for passage to 189 (Speaker Pelosi needs 216 for passage).
With the loss of Stupak and his 7-12 member caucus opposed to taxpayer-funded-abortions, Speaker Pelosi will have to find the remaining dozen plus votes from the ranks of cost conscious Blue Dog Democrats. For example, Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL) who voted against the House bill in the fall explained at the time: “According to the Congressional Budget Office, the House health care bill will actually increase federal health care spending over the long term, while proposals being considered by the Senate would have a net decrease.” But according to a new CBO score of the Senate bill passed on Christmas Eve (the one with the Cornhusker Kickback), it actually increases health care spending. And the reconciliation bill only make things worse, since, among other increased spending measures, President Obama “fixed” the Cornhusker Kickback not by eliminating the new spending, but by extending it to all 50 states.
With no votes piling up, and “yes” votes materializing, the Democratic plans to shove Obamacare down the throats of the American people are becoming more and more desperate. This Monday, the House Budget Committee will begin markup on the new reconciliation bill even though actual legislative text does not exist for it yet. The Democrats plan to pass a shell of a bill through the appropriate committees so that the Rules Committee can then substitute the bill that is being drafted completely behind closed doors by the White House and Senate and Democrat leaders.
Politico reports that despite the Parliamentarian’s initial verbal ruling, they will press on with their Slaughter Rule plan to pass the Senate bill without voting on it. NRO’s Yuval Levin quips: “Democratic leaders should be asking themselves just how they have gotten to the point that their strategy is to amend a law that doesn’t exist yet by passing a bill without voting on it.”
But President Obama’s progressive base is way past rational thought when it comes to health care. They want it passed at any cost. And as George Will pointed out yesterday, the very essence of progressivism sublimates the democratic process to the rule of experts in Washington. No one can say if this bill will finally pass, but if it does, it is abundantly clear that our republican form of government will be permanently damaged by it.
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