Here’s the first piece:
Healthcare win equals disaster for Dems
If the Democrats obey President Obama’s command and pass a health-care bill by the August recess, they’ll be committing partisan suicide.
Obama’s insistence that we completely remake our health-care system — and do it two weeks after the first bill was marked up in the first committee — is too arrogant by half. It smacks of the kind of overreaching of FDR’s second term in 1937, when, after his landslide win in 1936, he tried to pack the Supreme Court to reverse its anti-New Deal rulings.
Americans are increasingly turning against Obama’s program. A Washington Post poll has the plan’s public approval below 50 percent; Rasmussen has it trailing 46-49.
For Obama to ride roughshod over Americans’ rising concerns about a matter so intimate will be too much.
What’s the rush? they’ll ask. The bill isn’t even slated to take effect until next year. You passed the stimulus package, they’ll note, in a similar rush during the administration’s first week — only to see it fall flat. Now Obama aides are claiming the package was never intended to have much effect this year!
How, voters will ask, can we cover 50 million more people without any new doctors or nurses? The answer is to ration health care, with the government deciding who’ll get hip and knee replacements, heart-bypass surgery and other medical treatments. And what does rationing mean? It means that the elderly will be denied care that they can now get whenever they want.
The Obama plan effectively repeals Medicare, putting a Federal Health Board between the elderly and their doctors. This board will instruct public and private insurance carriers on what procedures are to be approved, at what cost and for what patients.
The bulk of this rationing will fall on the elderly. We’ll have to revisit the idea that the elderly have, in the words of former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm, a democrat, “a duty to die.”
And here’s the second piece:
Obama’s dwindling power
Superficially, the United States appears to have a presidential system, but in fact it more and more resembles a parliamentary form of government. When a president loses the approval of the majority of the voters and polls reflect that his ratings have fallen substantially below 50 percent, he loses his power. In this context, polls are like parliamentary votes of no confidence in European systems. While the government does not fall if it loses in the polling, it limps on until either its ratings improve or it is voted out of office at the next election.
Clinton was called “irrelevant” after the congressional defeats of 1994, when his ratings hovered in the high 30s. Bush seemed almost out of power in the last years of his administration, when his approval dropped to the low 30s.
Now Obama faces the loss of power that comes with dropping poll numbers. The two early symptoms of this creeping impotence are his inability to pass the union card-check legislation or to force action on healthcare before the August recess, once highly touted administration goals.
As is usually the case, the apparent cause of these defeats — the buildup of public disapproval of both bills — is not what is really at work. Rather, it is the president’s obvious inability to improve the economy that is exacting the daily toll in his approval ratings evident in all of the surveys. Like the body counts that mounted in Iraq and drove Bush’s numbers ever downward, the rising unemployment numbers are stripping Obama of his popularity and power.
Obama’s very activism in promoting the stimulus package in January as a cure-all has set him up for failure now that he cannot deliver on his overblown promises. Unlike Clinton’s presidency, Obama’s cannot be rescued by good public relations. His obvious failure to turn the economy around drags him down at every turn.
Will the group of moderate Democrats that is increasingly blocking his programs prove to be a lasting coalition? As long as Obama’s economic failures continue, they will grow and harden in their opposition to his radical agenda. Once their president’s popularity tanks, Democratic centrists will not look forward to running in an election defending his policies. The race to distance themselves from his failures will be on.