Democratic analyst Dan Gerstein sure gets points for honesty on Democrats losing the health-care debate. He writes:
Our party and the liberal activists who drive it can’t stomach the fact that we are blowing this debate. So they have manufactured a convenient, simplistic narrative of villains and victims, where right-wing extremists and special interests are conspiring to stop progress through a cynical fear-mongering misinformation campaign. To hear them tell it, the Democrats’ main mistake has been not fighting back hard and soon enough against the exaggerations and fabrications (which, no doubt, have been manifold and damaging).
But much as the Republicans have gamed the issue, the reality is that the first and worst deception was the Democrats’ own. Step back for a second, listen to what the non-screaming skeptics are saying, and it’s clear the party severely overestimated its mandate and underestimated the public’s growing unease with the government’s massive growth over the last year. What would have been a hard sell in any environment has turned into an epic challenge. Yet the Democrats have been charging ahead as if it’s still November 2008, oblivious to the dramatic change in the electorate’s mood.
He even—imagine this!—suggests to his fellow Democrats that they “stop attacking the public you are trying to woo.” Well, you don’t hear that coming out of the Obama spin machine.
His point—that Obama overinterpreted or misinterpreted a mandate for a huge expansion of government—is exactly right. Moreover, it extends to the rest of the Obama agenda, including cap-and-trade, fiscal policy, and regulating consumer protection. All of it cumulatively and each part specifically represent another power grab from a president convinced we are ready for a radical reworking of government’s role in Americans’ lives. If Gerstein is right, then it’s not just Obama’s health-care strategy that needs an overhaul; it’s his entire agenda.