Commentary Magazine


Topic: healthcare reform bill

Dems Not So Enthusiastic About Voting in Coming Elections

Here’s the latest from Gallup:

Gallup Daily tracking for the week ending April 11 puts Republicans slightly ahead of Democrats, 48% to 44%, in the congressional voting preferences of registered voters nationally. This marks the third week since the U.S. House passed healthcare reform on March 21 that the Republicans have tied or led the Democrats.

And this:

Gallup will not begin identifying likely voters for the 2010 midterms until later in the year. However, at this early stage, Republicans show much greater enthusiasm than Democrats about voting in the elections. Enthusiasm among members of both parties peaked shortly after passage of the healthcare reform bill on March 21, but has since tapered off slightly.

Forty-eight percent of Republicans are “very enthusiastic” about voting in this year’s congressional elections; the figure for Democrats is 30 percent.

This data isn’t particularly surprising any more, which is why it should be so alarming to Democrats.

Here’s the latest from Gallup:

Gallup Daily tracking for the week ending April 11 puts Republicans slightly ahead of Democrats, 48% to 44%, in the congressional voting preferences of registered voters nationally. This marks the third week since the U.S. House passed healthcare reform on March 21 that the Republicans have tied or led the Democrats.

And this:

Gallup will not begin identifying likely voters for the 2010 midterms until later in the year. However, at this early stage, Republicans show much greater enthusiasm than Democrats about voting in the elections. Enthusiasm among members of both parties peaked shortly after passage of the healthcare reform bill on March 21, but has since tapered off slightly.

Forty-eight percent of Republicans are “very enthusiastic” about voting in this year’s congressional elections; the figure for Democrats is 30 percent.

This data isn’t particularly surprising any more, which is why it should be so alarming to Democrats.

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Democrats in the Spotlight

Even among high-ranking and dependable veteran House Democrats, enthusiasm for ObamaCare is underwhelming. The Hill reports:

A handful of House committee chairmen are either undecided about or plan to reject the healthcare reform bill that is expected to be voted on as early as next week.

The prospect of several panel chairmen voting against the healthcare bill comes as the White House and Democratic leaders are ramping up their efforts to attract the necessary votes to move the Senate-passed bill. The White House wants the House to clear the bill by March 18 and then have the upper chamber amend the measure through reconciliation. … According to the survey conducted by The Hill. … there are already 11 firm “no” votes.

Needless to say, if committee chairmen are underwhelmed with the president’s arguments, it may be hard to corral the rank and file. Jake Tapper and Hotline are keeping tabs, and so far, there are a lot of noes and undecideds. But for now the Obama-spun (and media-favorite) storyline that “Republicans Obstruct ObamaCare!” has been properly tossed aside. The issue has never been whether Republicans oppose the monstrous tax-and-spend bill. They do. (The unanimity is perhaps a bit of a surprise.) The issue has been and remains whether moderate Democrats can be persuaded to vote for something their constituents hate and that, if they vote for it, will quite possibly end their careers. Stay tuned.

Even among high-ranking and dependable veteran House Democrats, enthusiasm for ObamaCare is underwhelming. The Hill reports:

A handful of House committee chairmen are either undecided about or plan to reject the healthcare reform bill that is expected to be voted on as early as next week.

The prospect of several panel chairmen voting against the healthcare bill comes as the White House and Democratic leaders are ramping up their efforts to attract the necessary votes to move the Senate-passed bill. The White House wants the House to clear the bill by March 18 and then have the upper chamber amend the measure through reconciliation. … According to the survey conducted by The Hill. … there are already 11 firm “no” votes.

Needless to say, if committee chairmen are underwhelmed with the president’s arguments, it may be hard to corral the rank and file. Jake Tapper and Hotline are keeping tabs, and so far, there are a lot of noes and undecideds. But for now the Obama-spun (and media-favorite) storyline that “Republicans Obstruct ObamaCare!” has been properly tossed aside. The issue has never been whether Republicans oppose the monstrous tax-and-spend bill. They do. (The unanimity is perhaps a bit of a surprise.) The issue has been and remains whether moderate Democrats can be persuaded to vote for something their constituents hate and that, if they vote for it, will quite possibly end their careers. Stay tuned.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

It’s hard to believe that pro-choice Democrats actually think Barbara Boxer helps their cause. Really, she can figure out why Viagra funding and abortion subsidies are different, right?

Sen. Ben Nelson’s Stupak-like abortion-funding amendment goes down to defeat 54-45. We’ll see if the vote comes back to haunt Blanche Lincoln and other supposedly pro-life Democrats who voted against it.

More important, will Nelson keep his word to filibuster ObamaCare without his amendment? “The Senate voted against strengthening restrictions against federal funding of abortion Tuesday evening, a development that could imperil Democrats’ efforts to pass an underlying healthcare reform bill. … Reid needs to hold together the entire 60-member Democratic caucus if he hopes to pass the healthcare reform bill. Losing Nelson would be fatal unless Reid made concessions in other areas to win the votes of Snowe or other GOP senators.”

Even before that vote, Rasmussen reported that “only 41% of U.S. voters favor the health care plan proposed by the president and congressional Democrats … [while] 51% oppose the plan. And as has been the case for months, the emotion’s on the [side] of the naysayers: 40% Strongly Oppose the plan, while just 23% Strongly favor it.”

The war on Fox and the Chamber of Commerce is expanding to Gallup. Yes, Gallup. Perhaps NPR will instruct Mara Liasson not to mention Gallup anymore. Just to be helpful, you know.

James Taranto on one of the political mysteries of our age, in the wake of Harry Reid’s slavery smear of Republicans (members of the party of Lincoln): “He has a propensity for saying things that are splenetic, inappropriate and ignorant, such as his embarrassing series of claims a few years ago that Clarence Thomas was unintelligent. This, however, raises a question that has long puzzled us about Reid: How did such an unappealing man who says so many foolish things get so far in politics? He has been elected to Congress six times, and the Senate’s Democrats chose him as their leader. Maybe he has exceptional backroom skills, or comes across better in person than on television. … Still, his success to this point seems something of a miracle–an inspiration to dour, foolish men everywhere.”

Unlike the White House, the public is not ignoring Climategate, it seems: “For the first time in more than two and a half years, a majority of the American public no longer believes global warming is a ‘proven fact’ that is mostly caused by man, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research. Only 45% of those surveyed agreed with the statement that ‘Global warming is a proven fact and is mostly caused by emissions from cars and industrial facilities such as power plants and factories.’ That number is down from 54% who agreed with the statement in June of last year and in May of 2007.”

From the Washington Post, no less: “If Obama and Congress were really as serious as they say they are about reducing unemployment, they would at least be willing to discuss rolling back last July’s minimum wage increase. It would create some jobs for those who need them most, and it would not cost taxpayers a dime. Yes, those who get hired at a reduced minimum wage would have to work for less. But at least they’d be working.”

It’s hard to believe that pro-choice Democrats actually think Barbara Boxer helps their cause. Really, she can figure out why Viagra funding and abortion subsidies are different, right?

Sen. Ben Nelson’s Stupak-like abortion-funding amendment goes down to defeat 54-45. We’ll see if the vote comes back to haunt Blanche Lincoln and other supposedly pro-life Democrats who voted against it.

More important, will Nelson keep his word to filibuster ObamaCare without his amendment? “The Senate voted against strengthening restrictions against federal funding of abortion Tuesday evening, a development that could imperil Democrats’ efforts to pass an underlying healthcare reform bill. … Reid needs to hold together the entire 60-member Democratic caucus if he hopes to pass the healthcare reform bill. Losing Nelson would be fatal unless Reid made concessions in other areas to win the votes of Snowe or other GOP senators.”

Even before that vote, Rasmussen reported that “only 41% of U.S. voters favor the health care plan proposed by the president and congressional Democrats … [while] 51% oppose the plan. And as has been the case for months, the emotion’s on the [side] of the naysayers: 40% Strongly Oppose the plan, while just 23% Strongly favor it.”

The war on Fox and the Chamber of Commerce is expanding to Gallup. Yes, Gallup. Perhaps NPR will instruct Mara Liasson not to mention Gallup anymore. Just to be helpful, you know.

James Taranto on one of the political mysteries of our age, in the wake of Harry Reid’s slavery smear of Republicans (members of the party of Lincoln): “He has a propensity for saying things that are splenetic, inappropriate and ignorant, such as his embarrassing series of claims a few years ago that Clarence Thomas was unintelligent. This, however, raises a question that has long puzzled us about Reid: How did such an unappealing man who says so many foolish things get so far in politics? He has been elected to Congress six times, and the Senate’s Democrats chose him as their leader. Maybe he has exceptional backroom skills, or comes across better in person than on television. … Still, his success to this point seems something of a miracle–an inspiration to dour, foolish men everywhere.”

Unlike the White House, the public is not ignoring Climategate, it seems: “For the first time in more than two and a half years, a majority of the American public no longer believes global warming is a ‘proven fact’ that is mostly caused by man, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research. Only 45% of those surveyed agreed with the statement that ‘Global warming is a proven fact and is mostly caused by emissions from cars and industrial facilities such as power plants and factories.’ That number is down from 54% who agreed with the statement in June of last year and in May of 2007.”

From the Washington Post, no less: “If Obama and Congress were really as serious as they say they are about reducing unemployment, they would at least be willing to discuss rolling back last July’s minimum wage increase. It would create some jobs for those who need them most, and it would not cost taxpayers a dime. Yes, those who get hired at a reduced minimum wage would have to work for less. But at least they’d be working.”

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Just as It Was Intended

It seems that trying to ram through the U.S. Senate an enormous, highly controversial, and very expensive piece of legislation isn’t as easy as one would think. This report explains that health-care reform is sputtering along:

On the third day of a divisive debate, Democrats threatened to keep the Senate in session through the Christmas holiday if necessary to pass a healthcare reform bill that President Barack Obama has made his top domestic priority.

The U.S. Senate debate on a sweeping healthcare overhaul stumbled toward gridlock on Wednesday, with frustrated Democrats considering new procedural moves after Republicans blocked votes on the first amendments.

This, of course, is nothing new for the “greatest deliberative body in the world.” The Republicans aren’t impressed with Democrats’ demand for speed. (“‘They expect to have a right to weigh in,’ Republican Senator Lamar Alexander told reporters. ‘The Senate is a place where we have generally unlimited debate, generally unlimited amendments, so we’re just getting started on this bill.’”) And Sen. Judd Gregg has a guide to parliamentary options to help his colleagues select which procedures they’d like to employ.

There is nothing in the least improper nor surprising about this. Democrats imagined they could craft a bill in secret, disregard the building public opposition, and ignore the minority party. They are finding out it’s not so easy given the Senate’s rules. The Senate is playing its historic and constitutionally appropriate role in slowing down a legislative freight train.

After all, if the bill is so wonderful, more debate and discussion can only work to its sponsors’ advantage, right? Well, there’s the rub. Democrats are freaking out, quite plainly, because with each passing week and month, the chances that this monstrosity will pass diminish.

It seems that trying to ram through the U.S. Senate an enormous, highly controversial, and very expensive piece of legislation isn’t as easy as one would think. This report explains that health-care reform is sputtering along:

On the third day of a divisive debate, Democrats threatened to keep the Senate in session through the Christmas holiday if necessary to pass a healthcare reform bill that President Barack Obama has made his top domestic priority.

The U.S. Senate debate on a sweeping healthcare overhaul stumbled toward gridlock on Wednesday, with frustrated Democrats considering new procedural moves after Republicans blocked votes on the first amendments.

This, of course, is nothing new for the “greatest deliberative body in the world.” The Republicans aren’t impressed with Democrats’ demand for speed. (“‘They expect to have a right to weigh in,’ Republican Senator Lamar Alexander told reporters. ‘The Senate is a place where we have generally unlimited debate, generally unlimited amendments, so we’re just getting started on this bill.’”) And Sen. Judd Gregg has a guide to parliamentary options to help his colleagues select which procedures they’d like to employ.

There is nothing in the least improper nor surprising about this. Democrats imagined they could craft a bill in secret, disregard the building public opposition, and ignore the minority party. They are finding out it’s not so easy given the Senate’s rules. The Senate is playing its historic and constitutionally appropriate role in slowing down a legislative freight train.

After all, if the bill is so wonderful, more debate and discussion can only work to its sponsors’ advantage, right? Well, there’s the rub. Democrats are freaking out, quite plainly, because with each passing week and month, the chances that this monstrosity will pass diminish.

Read Less