Sunday, November 1, 2009

Referendum on Health Care Reform

The voters finally get a shot. Obama was elected to deliver bipartisan reform to many problems that Americans face. Events, however, overtook the Obama presidency. That happened in the Bush presidency with 9/11 coming in the first year of the first Bush Term.

What happened to Obama is that the recession, somewhat mild (7 percent unemployment) when he was inaugurated, quickly went from mild to severe. Now, in his tenth month in office, Obama faces almost ten percent unemployment with that rate likely to grow not decline in coming months.

After 9/11 President Bush made "fighting terror" his number one priority, for good or evil. Obama has chosen to mostly ignore the recesssion.

The stimulus bill initiated by the Obama White House in February was written by the House of Representatives Democratic leadership -- mostly Nancy Pelosi. The bill was a grabbag of new entitlements, wealth transfers, and a host of political payoffs to somewhat shadowy groups (like Acorn). There was little infrastructure spending in the $800 billion bill that was passed into law by heavy Democratic majorities. It is now painfully obvious that this law has provided virtually no stimulus. So, now what?

Obama's refusal to acknowledge the ever-deepening recession and growing unemployment is causing a major reassessment by voters of the Obama presidency. It is showing up in every opinion poll.

Americans, for good reason, do not want Obama's health care reform. The latest polls were 56 percent opposed and only 40 percent favorable. But, Obama and the Democrats remain undaunted by the growing unpopularity of their proposals. "Cap and trade" isn't even supported by the major environmental groups who, you would think, would be behind Obama's major environmental initiative. "Card Check" is mostly a sop to well paid union executives. The public, while liking Obama, doesn't support any of his economic agenda.

At some point the White House should "listen up." Tuesday might provide that magic moment.

Virginia is a good example of a referendum on White House policies. McDonnell began his campaign as a race against the Obama policies and that is exactly what has brought him thumping poll majorities. Governor Corzine is in serious trouble in New Jersey, a state where Democratic candidates for governor normally pull over 60 percent of the electorate. In upstate New York, a Republican candidate on record as favoring "Card Check" and the bulk of the Obama health care program has been forced to withdraw by overwhelming public opposition to the Obama program. Look for the third party candidate, Hoffman, to win that race handily.

Bill Clinton was able to rescue his presidency by backing away from Hillarycare, the absurd health care reform proposals advanced by Clinton's wife and overwhelmingly rejected by the public and by Democratic lawmakers. Clinton went on to become a very popular president and was handily re-elected to a second term. Clinton reversed course when he saw that the public was not on his side on the issues.

So, what is Obama doing? He is arguing that the 56 percent of Americans who oppose his health care reform are unpatriotic, ignorant, and mostly liars. Well, maybe so. but 56 percent is 56 percent.

Obama's narrow band of followers is not likely to provide enough numbers to survive the Republican onslaught in 2010 and is not likely to provide enough support for his own re-election.

Watch the results on Tuesday. It portends the future.