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It’s the Contempt

Democrats Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen try to sound the warning on ObamaCare:

Their blind persistence in the face of reality threatens to turn this political march of folly into an electoral rout in November. In the wake of the stinging loss in Massachusetts, there was a moment when the president and Democratic leadership seemed to realize the reality of the health-care situation. Yet like some seductive siren of Greek mythology, the lure of health-care reform has arisen again.

Quite simply, Obama has lost, they observe, the public-opinion battle: “If it fails, as appears possible, Democrats will face the brunt of the electorate’s reaction. If it passes, however, Democrats will face a far greater calamitous reaction at the polls. Wishing, praying or pretending will not change these outcomes.”

The polls are wrong or the voters are dolts or they will learn to love it. We’ve heard some variation of each of these excuses over the past year. Perhaps Obama and the Democrats are in denial. But I think it’s more properly seen as contempt. They simply don’t care what voters think, for they know best. That’s the entire premise of ObamaCare. Voters who may be young and healthy can’t be trusted to decide to self-insure or buy cheap, high-deductible plans. Employers can’t be trusted to balance health care, salary, and other employee benefits in deciding how to compensate their employees. Consumers can’t be trusted to shop around from state to state or select the exact sort of plan they need; the government will set “minimum” standards (which include every procedure politicians deem necessary).

So should we be surprised that Democratic politicians are intent on doing this, knowing full well voters don’t want them to? Voters sense when they’re being denigrated, and the results, should ObamaCare pass, will be severe. (“Voters are hardly enthralled with the GOP, but the Democrats are pursuing policies that are out of step with the way ordinary Americans think and feel about politics and government. Barring some change of approach, they will be punished severely at the polls.”) But there’s still time for individual House Democrats to prevent the incineration of their own careers and their party’s fortunes. All they need to do is go home for the recess and ask voters if this is what they want. At each and every turn — three key elections, the August recess, constant polling — the voters have given the same answer. Now the only thing that remains is to see if Nancy Pelosi’s members share her disdain for what their constituents think.


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