Commentary Magazine


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Flotsam and Jetsam

Gallup tells us that Americans oppose Obama’s handling of health care by a 49-43 percent margin; only 35 percent of Independents approve (down from 55 percent just a month ago).

Sen. Diane Feinstein is miffed at the White House’s heavy-handed political organizing efforts.

Sen. Claire McCaskill doesn’t think it’s right to call the health-care protesters racists.

Those citizen protests at town halls are gaining admirers: 34 percent of respondents say they’ve made them more sympathetic to health-care opponents, 21 percent less so. Independents are more sympathetic by a 2-1 margin; 51 percent say “angry attacks” are “democracy,” while 41 percent say it is “abuse.” Why it’s almost as if Americans approve of voters taking matters into their own hands.

Could it be they are spending too much money? “The federal deficit climbed higher into record territory in July, hitting $1.27 trillion with two months remaining in the budget year.”

The New York Times is agitated that Karl Rove played a role in removing a U.S. attorney who was not prosecuting corruption and voter fraud cases in New Mexico. An outrage! But wait. It was a bad thing to insist prosecutors do their job? Pretty soon we’ll be demanding that the Justice Department throw the book at voter intimidation.

Mickey Kaus wants the president to just say no to rationing. Perhaps if Obama hadn’t spent trillions already this year, people might not be so cost-conscious. But now cost matters, and in a government-run plan without tort reform, rationing is the only way to control costs. So rationing is not just an uncomfortable subject of discussion; it’s the heart of ObamaCare.

Daniel Henninger observes that “to an independent voter or moderate Democrat, President Everyman is starting to look like a salesman for the superstate. One keeps waiting for the president to give this swath of his non-statist constituency something to hang onto. Instead, they see liberal Democrats pistol-whipping the Blue Dog dissenters with nary a peep of objection from the world’s most reasonable man.”

Alice Rivlin doesn’t think we should be popping champagne corks yet: “If you have lost your job, the worst may not be over for a long time. If you have a job, you may still lose it. The main reason for optimism is that the rapid deterioration of the economy has slowed down. Production and sales may even start increasing gradually in the next few months. For many businesses, the worst may be over. But don’t expect a bounce. Scared consumers are hanging on to their cash, bemoaning the lost value of their houses and trying to reduce their debts. They won’t rush back to the mall to buy things they don’t absolutely need. Employers will be cautious about hiring until they are sure the recovery is robust, so unemployment will remain high for several years.” Several years?

So maybe we should dump cap-and-trade once and for all. “The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) released a study Wednesday that found under a high-cost scenario the House global warming bill could reduce economic growth by 2.4 percent and cost 2 million jobs by 2030.”

Michael Barone on health care: “When a politician tries to stop debate, it’s a sign he’s losing the argument. Obama seems to have let the House Democrats overplay their hand. He ignored the fact that in our system neither party ever has all the advantages.”