In the past 24 hours, the mood among my fellow conservatives seems to alternate between hope and despair, with some feeling that the Democrats’ overreach these past 14 months will lead to a reinvigorated conservative movement, able to recapture the congressional majority and repeal burdensome regulation and shut down meddlesome federal programs while others insist that Obamacare, like entitlements before it, are here to stay.
I tend to belong to the latter camp, (yet admit to feeling part of the former at times). I looking at polls which show a remarkable consistency: the American people don’t want bigger government. Indeed, Obama seemed to recognize this his successful bid for the White House when he promised a “net spending cut.”
According to a CNN survey this past weekend, 56% of Americans believe the health care bill creates “too much government involvement in the nation’s health care system.” Last September, Gallup found that a near identical percentage of Americans, 57%, believe “the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to businesses and individuals“. Only 38% thought it should do more.
After all the effort Democrats put into passing this bill–and by the barest of majorities–Democrats may well have expended all their political capital and be unable to push new programs through. Obama still feels he needs to sell the program to the American people. (Isn’t that kind of link a used car salesman coming to your house and continuing his spiel about the quality of the car he sold you, as if his words alone will overcome the problems with the vehicle you were all but forced to buy?)
Just take a gander at the CNN poll. 62% of Americans think their health care bills will go up under the new plan. 70% say it will increase the deficit. 47% think their families will be worse off, while only 19% think they’ll be better off. And this despite Obama’s incessant shilling of the program, overwhelmingly favorable media coverage and tens (hundreds?) of millions of dollars in TV ads by allied special interests.
All this effort and the barest majority of victory in the House, led by a Speaker with an uncanny ability for rounding up votes. No wonder Allahpundit asks, “With the media in the tank and the bill itself so manifestly awesome, why is Obama planning a multi-year — yes, really — effort to sell it to the public?”
Democrats may have won the legislative battle, but they’re losing the battle for hearts and minds. And that’s why I have hope for the conservative cause. They have every advantage, a charismatic president, a fawning media, supportive special interests and a disciplined and determined House Speaker.
Now let’s hope her successor has the same discipline and the same determination when he takes the gavel next January.