Bill Murchison

Heavy weekend snowfall closed down the capital of the United States. Not that many outside the Washington Beltway were sorry about it. Possibly -- by their reasoning -- the blizzard was God's gift to decent government, a holiday from the ceaseless commotion, braggadocio and show-offing that have become the capital's principle pastimes.

Did Sarah Palin bring down the house in Nashville, Tenn., at the big tea party bash and the next day at a Rick Perry rally in Texas? By virtue of her considered views on Federal Reserve reform or transportation policy? Nothing of the sort. She laid into the Washington politicians, calling for "another revolution." Wow. That's pretty stern talk. And the crowd loved it.

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On Monday, a Rasmussen Poll indicated why. Seventy-five percent of likely voters, the polls said, are "at least somewhat angry at the government's current policies." That's both parties in the government. Sixty percent, according to Rasmussen, believe "that neither Republican political leaders nor Democratic political leaders have a good understanding of what is needed today." Just 52 percent thought that way in November. Forty-nine percent are worried not that the federal government will do too little to "help" the economy -- rather that it will do too much. Fifty-nine percent favor tax cuts over increased federal spending. For the size of the deficit, 83 percent blame Congress rather than want-it-all taxpayers.

In an interview before the Super Bowl, President Obama announced a Feb. 25 half-day "bipartisan health care summit" that he said would be televised live. The president said he wanted to see what Republicans could bring to the table -- except he won't allow them to propose taking time to start over again. No way, it seems, are we going to hit reset. We're going to figure a way to meld two bills that nobody anywhere likes very much.

Obama's aggressive tone to Republicans -- "How do you want to make sure that the 30 million people who don't have health insurance can get it? What are your ideas specifically"? -- pretty much dooms the event, save as an occasion for Democratic and media bashing of Republicans. On the other hand, that may not matter. Polls show Americans opposed to health care in its present big government configurations. Attempts to cram -- the precise the word for it -- health care down the nation's throat will meet a popular hostility, for which it seems to me the Washington establishment isn't prepared.


Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
 
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