I’m surprised but I shouldn’t be. Universal health care was The One’s top domestic priority during the campaign and he won by a sizable margin, ergo it’s natural to assume that America’s readier than it’s ever been to socialize medicine. But consider: In ’93 the Cold War was over, the economy was coming out of a recession considerably weaker than this one, and we were 15 years further removed from facing Medicare doomsday than we are now. Fast forward to 2009, with the U.S. stuck in two wars and Obamatopia landing us trillions in the red and it’s only natural that we’d find priorities have hope-n-changed.
Rove argued this morning that we can stop ObamaCare. If we could stop HillaryCare with these comparative numbers, why not?
Another fascinating data point: “In April 1993, a majority of Americans (55%) said the health care system needed to be completely rebuilt. As discussion of Clinton’s proposals progressed, support for completely rebuilding the health care system declined. By June 1994, just 37% said the health care system needed to be completely rebuilt.” Evidently, the more people know about universal health care, the less they like it. (College grads are significantly softer on it than those without a degree, too.) Given all that, on this issue, I wonder if having a Democratic Congress right now isn’t as much of a curse for The One as it is a benefit. The smart thing to do would be to hold off health care until his second term and focus on reducing the U.S. presence in Iraq and paying down the deficit. The more economically secure the country feels and the less overextended overseas, the more inclined it’d be to address expensive domestic priorities. The problem is, if Obama waits, the odds increase that the GOP will take back one or both chambers in the meantime and torpedo reform altogether. So he has no choice but to go for broke now, when enthusiasm for the program is necessarily weaker. Are his charisma and powers of persuasion so vastly greater than Clinton’s that he can make up for the gap in popular support here?