Many have offered reasons why the “tide of opinion seems to continue to run against Barack Obama and the Democrats’ health care bills.” Victor Davis Hanson believes that Democratic proposals to overhaul our health care system are losing favor with the American people for the same reason George W. Bush lost public support for the war in Iraq:
. . . the Bush administration . . . could not articulate what the aims in Iraq were, why they were worth the likely costs, and why decisions like disbanding the Iraqi army, at first pulling back from Fallujah, giving a reprieve to Sadr, etc. were mistakes and would not be repeated. The problem was not that Bush and Co. did not fight back sufficiently, but rather that they did not explain adequately to the American people why the people’s growing doubts about winning in Iraq were mistaken.
This Clio of punditry believes the President has failed to offer “a simple, understandable plan . . . failing to explain and defend” what his proposals will accomplish “with clear language and logic.” It might have helped the Administration if the President has submitted its proposal to Congress instead of “outsourcing” it to the left-wing leaders in the House. And if there were just one proposal on the table (and not several, different weighty bills).
It’s not just the President’s failure to “explain adequately” what he is trying to accomplish and (his party’s failure to coalesce around a single, succinct proposal) which has led to his slide in the polls, it has also been the Democrats’ (and the media’s) failure to understand the resiliency of conservative ideas.
They believed their own propaganda about a decrepit GOP and a moribund conservative movement. They just assumed their opponents on the right represented a toothless opposition. It never occurred to them that opponents of big government (and not just conservatives) would take to the streets to protest Obama’s policies.
They surely thought they could just roll over the opposition, much as LBJ did when he launched the Great Society. No wonder they must needs malign the protesters (and their allies in Congress). It’s how they deal with what they didn’t expect. And what they can’t understand.