Mickey Kaus tells President Obama to look on the bright side of his bogged-down efforts to get a health-care reform bill passed: The morass diverts public attention from even more unpopular items on the president’s legislative agenda that could cause his poll numbers to sink even further:

Cap and trade, immigration legalization, “card check”–these are not what you’d call confidence building appetizers leading up to the main course of Obama’s presidency. Plus the Afghan War! At least a clear majority of the public wants something done about health care….

It’s easy to forget that, even if Obama’s health care effort is bogging down, the effort itself still serves his presidency as a crucial time-waster, tying up Congress and giving him a reason to postpone (or the public a reason to ignore) those other divisive, presidency-killers. Obama needs some excuse for putting off unpopular Democratic demands; health care’s a good one. If he keeps failing to pass health care until spring, that might not be such a bad outcome. In fact, even quick passage was maybe never in his interest. There are things more unpopular than struggling….

Mickey links this hard-hitting column by the Daily News’s Michael Goodwin:

The danger for Obama isn’t just that most voters don’t like his health plan. The real danger is that he is digging a trust deficit with ordinary Americans of all political stripes.

With as many as 70% of respondents effectively telling pollsters they don’t believe any of the inflated claims he routinely makes about an overhaul, the President is at risk of permanent damage.

It’s compounded by the fact that he has spoken publicly so often to push his view that he’s no longer welcome in many living rooms. One poll found half the country thinks he’s on television too much, which is a polite way of telling the President to buzz off.

If those attitudes harden and the distrust becomes fixed, even his own party will see him as an occupational hazard.

See, Mr. President, there’s a silver lining in every cloud. Think what your poll numbers would be like if you were trying to push immigration amnesty.