Poll after poll shows that the public is opposed to Obamacare. Yet the Democrats claim it is inevitable. Nothing can stop them now! “Did the Democrats become Calvinists when we weren’t looking?” asks Matt Continetti of the Weekly Standard. “Lately they’ve been talking an awful lot about predestination. They want to claim that Obamacare’s victory is foreordained, that the health care debate is over and–surprise, surprise–the liberals won.”
The leading Democrats on Capitol Hill are fighting for Obamacare as if the public doesn’t matter. You’d almost think that it’s something more than health-care reform on their agenda—like, you know, fundamentally changing our polity. But I digress.
Continetti says that there are good reasons to assume that they will succeed—but their triumph is not predestined for three very good reasons.
One reason is that public opinion isn’t as irrelevant as our elected leaders seem to think. We matter, though you’d never know it from the rhetoric on the Hill. Their disdain may prove embarrasingly wrong. “Our government rests in public opinion,” Abraham Lincoln said in 1856. “Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government.”
Obamacare is still sinking in the polls and every time the public learns more, it sinks farther. Continetti notes, “[A] polarizing chief executive is asking Congress to enact a $1 trillion entitlement and tax hike against the public’s wishes. Won’t Democrats whose seats are up in 2010 think twice before acceding to his demands?”
Public concern about spending our hard-earned money is another key factor. Senator Tom Coburn, a doctor, weighed in on this in a story about the failure of the so-called “doctor fix,” an attempt to increase doctor’s pay without putting the cost in the health-care bill. If that sounds dishonest, it is. Twelve Democrats voted against it. Coburn notes:
“The first lesson for the White House in this defeat is that public concern about the deficit is real, not manufactured.”
And—back to Continetti—there is a third reason to hope: the calendar.
Obama originally wanted a bill before summer’s end. Didn’t happen. Back in September, lawmakers expected Pelosi to hold a vote by the end of that month. No go. Then the deadline was the end of October. Another fantasy. Now we’re told the vote won’t come before early November.
But November features off-year gubernatorial elections that look favorable for Republicans. In Virginia, Republican Bob McDonnell holds a commanding lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds.