The Democrats are understandably stunned. They and those sympathetic to them do control everything—the White House, Congress, the mainstream media, the popular culture, and elite education. And they still—despite all that power—can’t get the public to pipe down and go along quietly with their planned takeover of health care. What is wrong with everyone? You can sense the anger, the resentment. And the panic.I am not sure they, they being the liberal establishment quite understand what has gone wrong.
There is no playbook for the liberal establishment when they are in power while the crowds and much of the new media are in fevered opposition. After all it is the Left that is supposed to be filled with righteous indignation at the “establishment.” Moreover, the intensity is largely now on the side of the anti-ObamaCare forces — quite a reversal from the Bush era.
Obama and his crew were swept in to power believing they had a mandate to change the way government operated. I think they are learning that their "mandate" was based more on a dissatisfaction with George W. Bush rather than the appeal of the Barak Obama domestic agenda.
To be sure, the economy tanking and the Bush Administration reaction soured a great many people on George W. Bush and simply put John McCain didn't get anyone's heart pounding, certainly not like Obama did. But outside of the housing bubble bursting and the consequent reaction of the economy, I don't think most Americans were dissatisfied with the state of the domestic agenda.
If you look at polling, most Americans are supportive or at least ambivlent about most of Obama's foreign policy. To be sure, it is not a high priority right now, but given that Obama has more or less bought into the Bush strategy in Iraq and seems ready to replicate it in Afghanistan, it is hard to see any differences in our foriegn policy positions between the Bush and Obama Administration. Thus, Obama is left with his domestic agenda.
Assuming his strong victory over milquetoast McCain was a mandate for radical change in the domestic policy arena, Obama has pursued what most people rightly view as a clearly leftist agenda. What Obama and his advisors have done is fully bungle his domestic agenda--leading off not with a groundbreaking effor to overhaul health care, but a massive spending spree that looked to most Americans as not particularly wise. Obama then touts his cap and trade and health care reform efforts, two programs that will radically alter the manner and reality in which Americans live. While America is adaptable and flexible, too much change too quickly breeds concern and fear and when those changes cost a lot of money, sums that most Americans simply can't grasp, it doesn't take much to produce a backlash.
Don't be surprised if, by the end of August/September, Obama's approval ratings will be in the Bush realm and Congressional ratings in the single digits again. The Democrats have done everything excatly wrong. Instead of addressing the anger, they call it un-American. Instead of realizing the depth of concern and worry, Democrats have tried to obfuscate and evade, refusing to address real concerns about rationing of health care, "death panels" and other aspects of the health care bills as they have come to light.
The reason why most Democratic Congressmen and Senators don't answer or evade answering is that they simply don't know what to do or say. Part of it is simply ignorance, they don't know what is in the bill that they were being asked to vote on. That is an abdication of their duty. Honestly, it is impossible for a Member of Congress or a Senator and their staffs to read every word in every bill introduced. They don't need to since most bills die in committee. But they should read something as big, as important a priority to this Administration and a bill known to be greatly altering the manner in which 16 percent of our economy operates. That is not too big an ask. If they don't understand something, they have the resources to find out--Legislative Counsel and the Congressional Research Service exist for just that purpose.
If a Member does know what was in the bill and what it meant, then evading the question is simply wrong and they should be dismissed from office on that ground alone. If they truly believe that is the best course, fine, but they need to make that case to Americans and they aren't doing that very well.
The other reason for evasion is that I don't think they are used to be called upon the carpet for their actions in the way happening now. I can't remember the last time an August recess had townhall meetings all over the place making National news. Local news I understand, but national news is big time and it is not simply a matter of news networks filling time. The vigor and scale of the questioning is the largest I have seen in decades. While some of the venom and tactics by some ObamaCare oppponents is over the top, emotion is running this show, not logic and politcs.
Will Democrats change the tune or change the dance? Will they realize that their ambitious plan is too much and change it or will they simply change the way they go about passing this legislation. Much remains to be seen, but this much is true, they days of Congress getting a pass on their actions is probably gone for a least a few years.