Remember that Aug. 1 deadline that President Obama set for Congress in passing a healthcare bill? Or else people would die!

“[T]he deadline isn’t being set by me,” Obama famously declared. “It’s being set by the American people.”

Aug. 1 came and went, Congress went on summer recess, and the American people survived (they also learned a bit about what Obamacare would really mean for them: a $1.5 trillion pricetag, new taxes, costly mandates, and reduced care for old folks).

And now, Congress is back in session, and guess what? The White House has set a a new, ultra-urgent deadline: six weeks from now or bust! “The goal would be, yes, over the next six weeks or so, maybe sooner,” Obama’s budget director, Peter Orszag, told Bloomberg News on Tuesday.

Did the American people set this latest deadline, too? Hmm,  today’s Wall Street Journal doesn’t think so:

The real White House goal is to sign any bill before Mr. Obama’s approval ratings further decline as people begin to understand the policies he supports. The six-week limit also happens to fall—conveniently—before the gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey, both of which the GOP has an even-to-better shot of winning. Democratic losses will terrify the Blue Dogs, who are already wavering in their support for an extreme health makeover.

In the end, the new deadline is a purely political exercise that is meant to preclude both the public and Congress from being too careful or prudent, which might upset Mr. Obama’s ambitions for the next Great Society or New Deal. Democrats figure they can deal with the costs and consequences of remaking one-sixth of the economy—later.

Oh, come now, Wall Street Journal! We think you’re being much too cynical!