Commentary Magazine



It’s sometimes hard to figure out why the Democrats are so anxious to pass such awful health-care legislation — in fact indefinite, awful legislation — which is also so unpopular. Taking issue with liberal pollster Nate Silver, who thinks passing ObamaCare would be courageous, James Taranto concludes that the legislation has become highly unpopular because the public has figured out that it’s a “monstrosity.” He explains:

Whose job was it to make ObamaCare popular? The politicians who backed ObamaCare, of course. If 61% of Americans oppose the Senate bill, it is because the senators who support it have failed to make their case. It’s hard to see how someone who thinks they had a good case to make can excuse this failure, much less present it as an achievement of near-courage.

Moreover, Democrats are convinced, in a groupthink exercise outmatched only by the global-warming hysterics, that passing a hugely unpopular bill is the only chance to save themselves from a 2010 wipeout. There are several explanations for this delusion. First, they really don’t believe it’s politically wise but want universal, government-run health care so badly that they’re willing to take a dive politically. (This is the rationalization of the ideological true believer.) Second, they think the voters are dopey and don’t understand how wonderful life under the monstrous tax, mandate, and rationing scheme will be, only that, in the end, they’ll learn to love it. Third, Democrats are petrified of their liberal base and worry about primary challengers and donor rebellion. (As far as the 61 percent of Americans go, however, they seem willing to take their chances.) Of course, more than one explanation may be valid here.

We’ll see if the Democrats manage to cobble together a bill that can attract 60 senators. That seems to be the sole focus of their energies. Then they’ll have to worry about the tens of millions of enraged voters who will be very unhappy with them. Like Scarlett O’Hara — they’ll worry about that another day.