Do Nothing, Majority Says

by James Taranto
The Wall Street Journal
December 11, 2009

This column has long been arguing that the health-care ideas Congress is considering are so bad that inaction would be vastly preferable. Fox reports that a majority of Americans in a new poll now agree with us:

While 41 percent of Americans want Congress to pass major health care reform legislation this year, a 54 percent majority says they would rather Congress “do nothing on health care for now,” up from 48 percent who felt that way in July.

The poll finds that 57% of Americans oppose “the health care reform legislation being considered right now.”

To be sure, this is Fox, which according to the White House is not a legitimate news organization because it reports the news even when it casts President Obama in a bad light. But a CNN poll found that an even bigger majority–61%–oppose the Senate’s version of the ObamaCare bill.

The story on the poll ignores this, focusing instead on the finding that Democrats have only a 1% lead, 40% to 39%, when survey participants are asked which party’s control of Congress would make the country better off. This is the slenderest advantage for the Dems since July 2002.

A third survey, from Public Policy Polling, found that 52% of registered voters oppose “President Obama’s health care plan.” On the firm’s blog, PPP’s Tom Jensen reports on another finding:

Perhaps the greatest measure of Obama’s declining support is that just 50% of voters now say they prefer having him as President to George W. Bush, with 44% saying they’d rather have his predecessor. Given the horrendous approval ratings Bush showed during his final term that’s somewhat of a surprise and an indication that voters are increasingly placing the blame on Obama for the country’s difficulties instead of giving him space because of the tough situation he inherited. The closeness in the Obama/Bush numbers also has implications for the 2010 elections. Using the Bush card may not be particularly effective for Democrats anymore, which is good news generally for Republicans and especially ones like [Ohio Senate candidate] Rob Portman who are running for office and have close ties to the former President.

The question is a fanciful one, and Obama’s six-point margin is roughly comparable to the one by which he beat John McCain 13 months ago. But the 44% who say they’d prefer Bush to Obama is twice Bush’s approval rating in the final CBS News poll during his term.

With Bush out of office less than a year, it seems unlikely that a revisionist view of his presidency has already taken hold. Thus these results almost surely represent a backlash against Obama and Congress’s Democrats. Their insistence on pushing ahead and forcing on the country a health-care scheme that by now is almost as unpopular as it is monstrous is without a doubt a major factor here.

In addition, it can’t help the current president that he is constantly whining about the “mess” he “inherited” from his predecessor. Even those who blamed Bush for all the world’s problems expected Obama to improve things, not spend his term carping about them.

More by Taranto at WSJ.

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