Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON -- President Obama and his top White House advisers have been pushing Democratic leaders for months to bring his problem-plagued healthcare reforms up for a vote as soon as possible.

Not because it is critical that his healthcare-overhaul plans become the law of the land this year. The effective date of its implementation would not be until 2013, if not later.

The real reason is because the longer congressional debate drags on, the weaker Obama becomes politically and thus the greater the chances that doubtful Democrats will desert him when the roll is called.

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That, of course, is what is now happening to Obama, both to his public-approval polls and to public support for what Americans increasingly see as a radical attempt to seize control of the private healthcare system when the evidence shows that government doesn't run its own programs very well, let alone the nation's massive medical-care industry.

The president's job-approval numbers have been collapsing, down into the high 40s in some surveys. Support for his healthcare plan has been plummeting. Now, even his party has been losing public support on the major issues facing the nation.

A nationwide Washington Post poll of more than 1,000 Americans showed this week that just 46 percent support his plan (other polls show it lower than that) and nearly half (48 percent) are opposed.

The poll further showed that "nearly half of all Americans, 45 percent, say the reform plan would create too much government involvement in the system." This is roughly on a par with polls that were taken on Hillarycare in 1993 and 1994 just before President Clinton's plan went down in flames in a Democratic Congress without ever reaching a vote.

Significantly, the poll found that over half of independents said Obama's plans amounted to "overreach," and two-thirds said it would worsen the government's already swollen $1.5 trillion budget deficit.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.