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Morning Bell: Health Care in the Balance as Ground Shifts Under Obama
Posted By Mike Brownfield On January 19, 2010 @ 9:30 am In Health Care,Ongoing Priorities,The Morning Bell | 38 Comments
One year ago, President Barack Obama delivered his inaugural address  at the foot of the Capitol, laid out an agenda of “big plans” for his administration, and chided “cynics” who “fail to understand that the ground has shifted beneath them.” One year later, as voters head to the ballot box in Massachusetts, it seems that the ground very well may have shifted under President Obama.
And that ground shift might spell trouble for the President’s health care magnum opus.
In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll released yesterday, President Obama’s approval ratings have “plummeted to 50%, down from 64% after he took office,”  giving him an average 57% approval rating for the year and placing Obama “nearly last in the ranking  of former presidents’ first-year job approval averages.”
Why the dissatisfaction? For President Obama, “big plans” meant a year of “big government” in the form of the nationalization of private corporations, hundreds of billions of dollars in new federal spending and a massive government takeover of health care. Those liberal policies haven’t sat well with a majority of Americans.
The Washington Post reports that “By 58 percent to 38 percent, Americans said they prefer smaller government  and fewer services to larger government with more services.” As the Post reports , that’s 15 percent more people favoring smaller government over larger government since Sen. Obama won the Democratic nomination in June 2008.
Those anti-big-government sentiments could put the kibosh on President Obama’s hallmark health care legislation if today’s special election for the late Edward Kennedy’s Senate seat doesn’t go the President’s way. Make no mistake, the Massachusetts election is very much about national issues – and President Obama’s liberal agenda. Health care came to dominate the Massachusetts race, and Republican candidate Scott Brown has made no bones about being the deciding vote to block Democrats’ health care reform legislation .
A Brown victory would be a game-changer in the Democratic Congress’ efforts to pass health care legislation. And that’s a distinct possibility, given the latest Politico/InsideAdvantage poll  that puts Brown up over Democrat Martha Coakley by a 52-43 margin. Politico reports :
“A defeat by Martha Coakley for the seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy would be embarrassing for the party — and potentially debilitating, since Democrats will lose their filibuster-proof, 60-vote hold on the Senate.”
With so much on the line, it’s no wonder that President Obama swooped-in to support Coakley  in a last-minute get-out-the-vote effort, but it’s questionable whether his Sunday campaign stop or his TV ad on her behalf  will be enough to get her across the finish line. In fact, Democrats are already circling the horses in anticipation of a defeat in the Bay State.
The Hill reports that Democrats are “eyeing a parliamentary maneuver  to sidestep the Senate’s filibuster rules to pass healthcare if they lose their supermajority.” And Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Monday , “Let’s remove all doubt, we will have healthcare one way or another.”
Likewise, Republican leadership are expecting Democrats to pull out the stops to pass health care reform in the event of a Brown victory. “It’s pretty clear that they’re going to use every trick imaginable … to shove this down the throats of the American people,” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on Monday .
Heritage’s Director of U.S. Senate Relations, Brian Darling, explains that if Brown wins today, Democrats will have two options:
“One would be for the House to take up and pass Obamacare with reconciliation being used as a technical corrections mechanism to allow Democrats to avoid a filibuster in the Senate. Option two would be to drop Obamacare and finally understand that the American people want Congress to scrap this version of health care reform and start over.”
The first option might give President Obama a much-needed legislative victory for his January 27 State of the Union address, but dropping Obamacare and starting over from scratch would be a victory for the American people. The question is whether President Obama understands – or cares – that the ground has shifted beneath his feet, too.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2010/01/19/morning-bell-health-care-in-the-balance-as-ground-shifts-under-obama/
URLs in this post:
 inaugural address: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/inaugural-address/
 “plummeted to 50%, down from 64% after he took office,”: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-01-18-obama-one-year-later_N.htm
 nearly last in the ranking: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/76605-pres-obama-ends-first-year-with-57-percent-approval-average
 Americans said they prefer smaller government: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/16/AR2010011602950.html
 Republican candidate Scott Brown has made no bones about being the deciding vote to block Democrats’ health care reform legislation: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/01/12/us/politics/AP-US-Kennedy-Successor.html
 latest Politico/InsideAdvantage poll: http://www.politico.com/static/PPM136_100118_insideradvantage_politico_mass_poll.html
 Politico reports: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0110/31629.html#ixzz0d1FtQveE
 swooped-in to support Coakley: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/01/obama_in_boston_tries_to_pul.html
 TV ad on her behalf: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0110/31613.html
 eyeing a parliamentary maneuver: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/76631-dem-lawmaker-hints-at-reconciliation-for-health-bill-if-dems-lose-in-mass
 Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Monday: http://www.salon.com/politics/war_room/2010/01/18/pelosi/index.html?source=rss&aim=/politics/war_room
 House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on Monday: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0110/31611.html#ixzz0d0qj5Nji
 Index of Economic Freedom and launch www.JobsandFreedom.com: http://www.heritage.org/Index/
 A Taliban attack yesterday in the Afghan capital of Kabul: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052748703569004575010124292399794.html
 Fox News is “not a traditional news organization”: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/76635-pfeiffer-repeats-wh-concern-with-fox-news
 “says a plan to bring 45,000 evacuees from Haiti to Florida … is not set in stone”: http://www.wftv.com/news/22242754/detail.html
 will be-sworn in: http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/01/celebrating_the_inauguration_o.html
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