Healthcare failure could turn Obama loyalists
When Congress reconvenes in September they will likely return to a Washington in more of a frenzy than it is even now.
August is historically the quiet before the legislative storm that often follows in September, but this year as problems are left to fester and many Congressmen and women are likely to face a increasingly impatient and angry public back home on both sides of the health care issue. August will likely be full of drama whether Congress recesses or not. And the political divide that already exists in Congress runs the risk of becoming a deeper and perhaps a divide that will never be breached.
The truth is that whether or not they stay or even if a health care bill gets to the floor. It looks as though there is no doubt that it will be watered down beyond Obama’s campaign promises.
The biggest aspect of Obama’s vision for health care that is going to be lost in the compromise of filibuster-proofing the vote will be the public option. This aspect of the potential legislation was and still is popular among the base of people that got Obama elected.
Losing this aspect (the public option) of the legislation ties into the bigger picture. If you look at the Rassmussen daily tracking poll the Strongly Approve number is already well below the percentage of the country that voted for him at 30%. The 30% number represents his loyal base. Well, a large percentage of his loyal base’s primary issue was healthcare. If they feel betrayed by a watered down bill or worse yet if the bill does not see the floor of Congress until September, that 30% number could continue to plummet, representing an anger in his base not yet seen in his Presidency.
At this point I think Obama wants to see a bill on his desk as soon as possible, he is after all a politician of political expediency and a watered down bill may be the only tourniquet available to stop the bleeding.
His approval numbers already being lower than anybody could have foreseen back in January at this point in his Presidency has given the Blue Dog Democrats the leverage they need to stand up to the spending that is represented in Obama’s ideal bill. And this leverage would only increase in the future if Obama’s base turns on him, therefore the majority would be rendered almost useless.
The thing about spending is that as much as those in favor of the original bill may try to contain the discussion on spending to only things relevant to the bill itself, that is simply not the economic reality we live in right now as a nation.
There is a reason that during Obama’s recent NAACP speech you saw the energy in his eyes that seems to be a void during the healthcare debate. It is because Obama’s whole life was geared towards getting elected. I’m not saying that he is completely void of a belief system, but he does not seem to be particularly passionate about any individual campaign promise. Since he moved into the White House he has become politically expedient in every way and therefore a vessel that a wide array of special interests and political constituencies have used to drive their agendas through.
If Obama proves to be inefficient as a vehicle for liberal legislation, his political career may have run its course and proven its point.
The key line in the speech he gave to the NAACP was “there but for the grace of God, go I” referring to young black men on Chicago’s street corners. I will take Obama at his word on that one, and if that is indeed the way he looks at the world, there is no wonder he tends to do the pragmatic and choose the easy way politically again and again, because he’s just happy to be there.