Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Issue Has Become Arrogance Not Health Care

Away from Washington people I talk to are just amazed at what the Democrats are in the process of doing on health care.

What I think the Democratic leadership is missing is that this is no longer about passing a health care bill in the minds of lots of these voters—a majority of voters from what the polls say.

To these people, this is about Democratic arrogance. What the polls don't measure is the anger I hear from people who can't believe what is going on. After the last few recent state elections and all of the polls that overwhelmingly say, “stop” or “start over” they just keep plowing along anyway. To defend themselves, the Dems point to the many times the Republicans have used the legislative tactic of reconciliation before—the Bush tax cuts, Part D, welfare reform.

They are right. But those were popular bills.

The Dems may be scoring debating points but instead what the voters I talk to see is a demonstration of political arrogance—not a health care legislative process.

The Democratic logic is that they have already voted for it so they might as well put a finished product on the table for people to appreciate on Election Day.

But the problem with that logic is that the the bill’s real benefits—eliminating pre-existing conditions and medical underwriting as well as the subsidies to buy insurance—don’t start until 2014.

What voters, particularly the swing independent voters, now see is not a health care bill but political arrogance—and that is really the issue Democrats are going to have to deal with.

What I think this is finally going to come down to is a few House Democrats putting their finger in the air to see which direction the political wind is blowing from. It's pretty clear to me there will be a gale force wind blowing from the direction of "no."
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