Friday, August 27, 2010

On Polls and Health Reform

They are free enough to disregard the polls but wise enough to take them into account.

President Bill Clinton, on the work of Erskine Bowles (D) and Alan Simpson (R), who are leading a bipartisan commission to guide America out of the debt wilderness

Something strange is going on out there in the political world.

Democrats are dismissive of public opinion polls and imply ordinary mainstream citizens who fret about "progressive" policies leading to staggering national debt are either stupid, bigoted, or consumed with hate.

Republicans are gleeful about polls indicating disapproval of the Obama administration. They are fond of saying most Americans are smarter than we give them credit for.

Take the latest health care polls.

• Rasmussen, 16% more oppose than favor

• CNN, 16% more oppose than favor

• CBS, 13% more oppose than favor

• Pew, 12% more oppose than favor

These numbers could shift, of course, but disapproval ratings have remained remarkably stable since Obamacare’s passage on March 23, 2010. Ordinary Americans, outside the left wing of the Democratic party, particularly Independents, don’t think health reform will either save money or decrease the deficit, costs for patients will go down, care will improve, reform will allow them to retain their present plans, or Medicare cuts will not affect seniors.

On health reform and other hot button issues – immigration, the Mosque, gay marriage, expansion of government,concern over national debt, the Tea Party movement, public could be wrong.

As Charles Krauthammer, MD, a recovering psychiatrist, describes in his column today, “The Last Refuge of A Liberal,” here is how liberals interpret the polls.

• “Resistance to the vast expansion of government power, intrusiveness and debt, as represented by the Tea Party movement? Why, racist resentment toward a black president.

• Disgust and alarm with the federal government's unwillingness to curb illegal immigration, as crystallized in the Arizona law? Nativism.

• Opposition to the most radical redefinition of marriage in human history, as expressed in Proposition 8 in California? Homophobia.

• Opposition to a 15-story Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero? Islamophobia.”

Now it may be that the vast majority of the unwashed American masses, who poll 70:30 on these issues, are racist, bigoted, ignorant, homophobic about gays, Islamophobic, and paranoid about big government.

But there are those of us who believe typical Americans, who live outside the Beltway, are perfectly capable of making sound, pragmatic, sensible, and financially responsible decisions on their own.

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