President Obama is a clever and ambitious man. And he has surrounded himself with a clever and ambitious staff.
This bright crew understood from the outset that time would determine if they would succeed with their health care plan.
They understood that their plan, which would require massive new expenditures, new taxes, and major new government interventions, had to be done quickly if it would get done at all.
They understood that it had to be done while the president's approval ratings were still high so that Congress would bend to his will. And that it had to breeze through and land on the president's desk before the general public could scrutinize it and understand the major way it would impact their lives.
As result, we've been hearing for months about the President's deadlines, tied to a list of explanations (economic recovery, if we don't do it now we'll never do it, growing hordes of uninsured, etc.) why the world will collapse if these sweeping reforms were not passed by August.
Now Washington's hot and humid August is here, Congress is adjourned, health care reform did not reach the House or Senate floor, and the White House is in panic. What they knew and feared they now confront. Dropping approval ratings and rising public awareness.
When the administration kicked this off with its White House Health Care Summit early last March, the president's 62-percent approval, per Gallup, was 36 points higher than his 26-percent disapproval. Now, at 56-percent approval and 37-percent disapproval, the gap has shrunk to 19 points.
A new poll from Quinnipiac University has him at 50-percent approval and 42-percent disapproval.
And, the details of the 1,000-page monstrosity, word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, are being delivered to desktops, laptops, and blackberrys. Group emails, websites, twitter and facebook accounts are churning.
Old discredited socialist ideas meet the new economy and free people are reacting and revolting -- as the White House knew they would if they got a chance to know what was going down.
Ironically, this technologically savvy administration is being hung by its own petard.
Rather than concluding that the public understands what they are being served up and doesn't want it, the White House damage control machine is breaking out the smoke and mirrors, determined to spin government health care past the American people if they won't buy it outright.