Luntz focus group says "start over" on health care

Johnny Dollar clipped this segment from last night’s Sean Hannity show, where pollster and analyst Frank Luntz hosted a focus group that may have endured treatment that would violate the Geneva Convention: watching the entire Obama health-care summit. With the group almost evenly split between Obama and McCain voters, the overwhelming reaction among them was to be underwhelmed. While Republicans got tepid praise for the most part, no one was terribly impressed with the effort made by Democrats yesterday. And if you’re tempted to click away from this seven-minute clip, you’ll miss the reaction that the entire group has to the idea of reconciliation:

People may differ on the approach needed to reform the cost structure in American health care, but they don’t differ much on the notion of cramming down an unpopular, unwieldy bill through a series of parliamentary tricks. If the Democrats can’t gain a consensus for a comprehensive overhaul of the US health-care sector, perhaps they should stop trying to push one. This is hardly the first polling that has delivered that message, but as Luntz says near the end of the clip, Democrats have thus far refused to listen.

Once again, this particular focus group shows that Republicans gained the most from the summit meeting yesterday. One woman says that Republicans “finally” got away from partisanship and started offering ideas, but the truth is that Republicans have been offering ideas since last summer on reforming health care costs. The media simply hasn’t reported on it. Barack Obama’s insistence on having a nationally-televised summit gave Republicans the platform they needed to get their common-sense points across to Americans — and if this focus group is any indication, those points resonated much more than the government-takeover approach demanded by Democrats. This summit was a huge miscalculation by Obama, and it leaves Democrats in a corner.

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