This week when President Obama concluded the seven-hour, made-for-television faux summit on health reform, and more or less announced his intention to cram his signature bill through the Senate in the form of reconciliation, he sealed his choice in moving forward with a great wager. This is a bet that he is hedging to see if the electorate will be more forgiving of him once he's able to claim that he's accomplished something--anything--in his first two years in office. As I was the first person in American punditry to predict this President's success to elected office, let me again go out on the prediction limb to say on this, "he will fail."
I'm basing my gut feeling on two polls recently released by a news organization.
And nope, it's not Fox News. It's CNN!
The CNN/Opinion Research poll released the middle of this last week was the first shocking poll. Only 25% of Americans want the current Obamacare bills (either one of them) to be passed and turned into law.
The Republicans attempted to point this out to the President, the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, and the Senate Majority leader. They attempted to point it out to the minority leader and to the remainder of the Democrats gathered who were supposedly called there to "listen" to the Republicans share their health care ideas. "Supposedly listen" because the Republicans were given less than two full hours, of the seven and a half the event took to actually speak.
Maybe it's just me, but five and a half hours for one side and one hour and fifty-four minutes for the other doesn't seem like much "listening."
But I digress...
The CNN poll also showed that 48% of Americans wished the President and Congress would scrap the current bills and start the discussion and process on health care reform all over again. Something else Senators Lamar Alexander and Tom Coburn were particularly skilled at pointing out. The Democrats, however, acted as though they could not hear them.
The same CNN poll showed that another 25% of Americans wished the federal government would drop health care reform for the time being--altogether. My hunch is that these are folks who believe, like most of us, that if you fix the jobs problem, then more people will automatically get health care.
Since it is unlikely that the jobs numbers will change anytime soon, the President chose to double down and go for the jugular on health care. In a sense, he's sort of backed into a corner. He hasn't improved the economy, the unemployment situation has not stabilized--much less improved, Gitmo is still open, four terror attacks against the U.S. have happened on his watch, and people are tired of all of his speeches--while seeing no results.
He's also created another monumental issue that he will have a hard time overcoming if he does push health care forward, and even blinks in the direction of cap and trade legislation.
According to another CNN/Opinion Research poll out towards the end of this past week, a majority of Americans now feel like the government cannot be trusted. Specifically 56% of the American people believe the government is intruding upon the basic rights of its citizens. The survey shows that 4 in 10 democrats feel that way as well as 6 in 10 independents.
The entire debate around the cronyism of the stimulus bills, the takeover of private enterprise in the bailout programs, the usurpation of the free market on the health care debate, and the desire to raise the most punitive taxes against consumers ever imagined in the cap and trade legislation all contribute to this feeling.
The youth vote, the vote that gave Obama his 4% win in the electorate (beating McCain by 40% in the demographic), feel this "intrusion" effect most acutely. That's why the actor Stephen Baldwin, my media company partner, and myself founded the XPAC experience at CPAC this year. We sensed this restlessness coming on.
That's why CPAC had an 11% increase in attendance this year, nearly 61%, by people who were under 30 years of age.
That's why the state Republican party in California has asked us to bring the XPAC experience to their state-wide convention in San Diego this August.
The American people are telling CNN, not Fox News, that they do not like the President's priorities, nor his policies. The young Americans that are being asked to shoulder these nightmarish realities for their future are agitated. And the voters in America are more aware of the legislative score than Obama lets on.
So, if he pushes reconciliation to pass a bill that 75% of the nation does not want just to get it through the Senate, what will his trick be when he gets it in front of the House where Nancy Pelosi is now 21 votes short of passage?
Meanwhile the 2010 election clock is ticking...