Both sides have something to cheer in the passage of health care: Democrats in their “big bleeping deal” of a victory; Republicans that it didn’t do them much good. Every last one of their sunny predictions turned out not to happen, and among the many were these:
Once it passed, people would turn out to love it.
They don’t. The more it’s explained, the less people want it. More and more things seem to creep out from its pages, and taxes, restrictions and premium rises are still in the pipeline. “Voters may not buy it,” the AP warns, correctly. Stay tuned.
Democrats would get credit for being “able to govern.”
This depends on your definition of “governing,” and polls taken since the bill’s passage suggest that this hasn’t been it. “When a party pushes through Congress a major and thoroughly discussed piece of legislation that voters don’t like, that is hardly a way to ingratiate yourself,” Charles Cook is opining.
“Being perceived as wrong, as opposed to both wrong and incompetent, is not much progress.” At least if you fail, the bill isn’t around to annoy people further. Which brings us to point No. 3.
Democrats had to pass it to get it “behind them,” and move on to other, more popular things.
It’s not in arrears with 30+ states bringing court challenges, Obama still feeling obliged to defend it, and most of the complaints raised about it applicable to much else Obama wants done. It isn’t an issue so much as a sore point and symbol.
It was Rich Lowry on “Meet the Press” who nailed it correctly: “They seem to think ... they’re going to put it behind them. They’ll really put it right back in front of them. ... This will be a debate for years.”
Process doesn’t matter.
This time, it does. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., turned out to make the big difference: He didn’t stop them from winning, but he made them win ugly — so ugly it hurt.
Less than half (46 percent) are sure what the Democrats did is constitutional, as opposed to 42 percent who are sure that it isn’t, and 12 percent who are dubious. Forty-nine percent blame the Democrats’ tactics for the resulting unpleasantness. (And the ‘racism!’ charges don’t seem to be working too well.)
It would serve as the model for even more Democratic “successes.”
Not quite. Democrats rammed the Senate bill through the House only because it had first passed the Senate, so that cannot happen.
Democrats are wrung out, and Republicans have no incentive to compromise. They know Obama’s inept at selling his issues, and less so with his candidates. Ask Gov. Creigh Deeds, D-Va., Gov. Jon Corzine, D-N.J., and Sen. Martha Coakley, D-Fantasy, how much Obama helped them.
And as for Obama, he was supposed to be king.
Maureen Dowd crowed in the first heady minutes that the warrior sage had roared from Carter drive onto the FDR highway, but the detour would be very short. Minutes later, he was on his way down again, getting his bump, but in the other direction.
According to CBS, he dropped five points since the bill’s passage. Gallup gave him the lowest ratings of his entire career. Polls show between 54 and 62 percent of respondents want Republicans to try to unravel his measure.
“Go for it!” he brayed to the would-be repealers, as his supporters howled in ecstasy.
“Screw you,” may work as a campaign slogan, but not when the screwees are in the majority. “Reporters are flummoxed,” Mike Allen wrote on the first day of April. And this was no April Fool.
Examiner columnist Noemie Emery is a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and author of “Great Expectations; The Troubled Lives of Political Families.”