This report explains a phenomenon startling only to those who misunderstand the fundamental character of the American middle class:
President Barack Obama returned Thursday to the city where he launched his health care plan nearly three years ago to sell the final product, part of a broader economic agenda that is gaining legislative steam in Washington.
But the people he says his policies are targeted to — the middle class — are the ones he appears to be losing. … As Mr. Obama pushes the agenda forward, middle class voters are moving away, according to polling. Middle-income voters—those earning between $50,000 and $75,000 a year, take a negative view, on the whole, of the president’s job performance, with 52% disapproving and 42% approving, according to the March Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. Among all wage groups, by contrast, opinion on Mr. Obama is nearly evenly split, with 48% approving and 47% disapproving, according to the poll. A year earlier, voters in the $50,000-to-$75,000 bracket had a far more positive view of the president, with 56% approving and 29% disapproving of his job performance
The Obami assumed they could bind the middle class to both government and the Democratic Party by giving them lots of goodies, most especially “free” or “nearly free” health care. But instead, suspicion and resentment have grown, worry about the debt and taxes to pay for all this have skyrocketed, and the voters whom Obama is supposed to be helping don’t feel helped at all.
In some sense, it is a refreshing reminder that the public remains intensely skeptical of big government and is more sophisticated than politicians assume. Moreover, individuals’ own life experiences tell them Obamism doesn’t work — unemployment remains at record levels, and health-care costs continue to rise. So that resentment and skepticism will only continue. In November, voters will have an opportunity to tell incumbents, “Thanks, but no thanks.” They can emphasize the need for a new course away from a European social-welfare model and toward the free-market system traditionally at the source of American freedom and prosperity. In short, the voters can show they can’t be bribed into accepting permanent dependency on an ever-growing federal government.
On the floor of the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell, among the cagier and more effective Republicans, uttered a final thought in his fiery denunciation of the health-care bill: “All it takes is one. Just one. One can stop it — or every one will own it.” Every one of the Democrats who voted in lockstep for cloture after 1 a.m. now owns the health-care bill. Each of the senators up in 2010 becomes the decisive vote. And each of them up in 2012 as well. In each and every race, this vote will be one of the top, if not the top issue, and voters enraged by one or another of the bill’s provisions (e.g., abortion subsidies, the violation of Obama’s pledge not to tax families with income less than $250,000, the slashing of Medicare) will get to register their disapproval.
As McConnell pointed out dryly, “But make no mistake: if the people who wrote this bill were proud of it, they wouldn’t be forcing this vote in the dead of night. … The final product is a mess — and so is the process that’s brought us here to vote on a bill that the American people overwhelmingly oppose.”
The bill will have to go to conference committee after passage by the Senate. Speculation is that Nancy Pelosi will run roughshod over her caucus and try to change virtually nothing so as to hold in place hard-won Senate votes. The task won’t be easy, as she may well have to go scrambling for votes lost from Rep. Bart Stupak and other pro-life Democrats unwilling to accept the Ben Nelson abortion language, which has been roundly condemned by pro-life groups. But make no mistake about how shrewd she can be. As one Hill aide put it:
Pelosi can be pretty persuasive down there on the floor. She turned 10 Dems who didn’t want to vote for their second stimulus last week to get the votes she needed. She’ll promise everything under the sun — campaign cash, committee slots, pork projects, etc — whatever she needs to put it over the top.
And she’ll need to offer a lot. For by then, the American people will have learned more about the “mess” they’re about to receive, and House members will be demanding plenty of those Pelosi goodies in exchange for a vote that could quite possibly end their careers.
The results of races for the governorship of Virginia and New Jersey were ominous for Democrats. The most alarming development for them should be that independents voted for the GOP candidates by roughly a 2-to-1 margin. This was a sea change, and it took place in only a year.
There are several reasons Democrats are faltering at this juncture. But one explanation, I think, is more relevant than all others: President Obama is pushing a hugely expensive and ambitious domestic agenda the public simply does not want. Many Americans also believe that what Obama is doing is a diversion from the pressing issues confronting the country — a weak economy, the highest rates of unemployment and underemployment in more than a quarter century (the figure now stands at 17.5 percent), and an exploding deficit and debt.
Virtually every public-opinion poll shows considerable resistance to ObamaCare, the signature domestic program of the Obama presidency. Cap-and-trade is about as unpopular. In addition, public sentiment is turning hard against government spending, control, and activism, which are at the core of Obamaism. Read More