Homer’s “Odyssey” tells the tale of Odysseus, a hero of Greek mythology. Odysseus encountered two beasts while trying to sail through the Strait of Messina. On one side was Cylla, a six headed sea beast. On the other was Charybdis, a massive whirlpool.
Today, we call Cylla ,”a rock”, and Charybdis, “a hard place”. Between which, much like Odysseus, many Democratic legislators are now finding themselves. The legislators of whom I speak, at a minimum, are those from otherwise conservative districts who will be seeking reelection in 2010.
Why the dilemma? Obamacare.
At town hall meetings throughout the country, Americans are speaking out against Obamacare. At the same time, the administration calls those who object to Obamacare, angry, misinformed, bussed-in, Nazi mobs with scripted “talking points”.
I do not envy any legislator. Not that I ever did, but, this time the stakes are much higher. As a legislator, if I believe the administration, I must ignore my constituents, and risk losing my job in 2010. Yet, if I believe my constituents, I must ignore the administration and risk the wrath of Obama and Pelosi. So, now what?
Personally, I would look at the polls. While not 100% accurate, here’s what we do know.
The most important fundamental is that 68% of American voters have health-insurance coverage they rate good or excellent. That number comes from polling conducted this past weekend [August 1 -2] of 1,000 likely voters. Most of these voters approach the health-care reform debate fearing that they have more to lose than to gain.
Adding to President Barack Obama’s challenge as he sells health-care reform to the public is the fact that most voters are skeptical about the government’s ability to do anything well. While the president says his plan will reduce costs, 53% believe it will have the opposite effect.
There’s also the reality that 74% of voters rate the quality of care they now receive as good or excellent. And 50% fear that if Congress passes health-care reform, it will lead to a decline in the quality of that care.
And, this is even more interesting.
Those opposed to Mr. Obama’s reform appear to have momentum on their side. Polling last weekend showed that 48% of voters rate the U.S. health-care system as good or excellent. That’s up from 35% in May and up from 29% a year ago. Only 19% now rate the system as poor, down from 37% a year ago. It appears that the prospect of changing health care has made the existing system look better to a lot of people.
Two final thoughts…first, as anyone who frequents this blog knows, I’ve written perhaps 7 or 8 posts on the health care proposals as currently drafted by Congress. Go to the archives of this blog and you will find my posts. Print them out and take them to the DNC. If I have misinformed anyone I want to know, and I will correct it immediately.
And, second, it seems to me when the administration brands those who oppose Obamacare at town hall meetings as angry, bussed-in, misinformed, Nazi mobs, reading from scripts, it creates even more distrust. People who are sincerely opposed to Obamacare know that they are none of the above. So they wonder, if the administration is calling me something I am not, what else are they misleading the public about?