posted on March 28, 2012 16:12
Win or lose in the Supreme Court, President Obama has already lost in the court of public opinion. Polls show that two-thirds of Americans want at least some of Obamacare repealed.
If he loses the election in November, he’ll always wonder why he staked his presidency on an idea he opposed in 2008: the individual mandate.
That has become the lightning rod. And it helped his rabid opponents paint him as a big-government guy.
In an era when people are skeptical about complicated, big-government solutions, Obama took a complicated, big-government approach to health-care reform.
The last Democratic president famously declared that “the era of big government is over.” That was after his wife’s complicated, big-government solution to health care failed.
Maybe Obama should have taken smaller bites: pre-existing conditions, limits on insurance companies. Polls show high levels of support there.
Inevitably, some Democrat will say: “We just need to do a better job getting our message out and explaining the plan.”
Wrong. No amount of explaining will solve this problem. Americans just don’t want something big – unless it delivers them a nice present quick. Like Social Security, Medicaid or the prescription drug benefit.
Some Democrats, James Carville notably, argue that Obama will win by losing in court. Carville wrote in Politico: “I think that this (losing in the court) will be the best thing that ever happen to the Democratic party because health care costs are gonna escalate unbelievably.”
But I don’t see the public blaming the court for high health care costs. After all, they don’t believe the plan holds down costs. And it’s never good for a President to lose a fight – anywhere, anytime.
Actually, Obama could lose if he wins. If the court somehow upholds his law, it then becomes the big issue in the general election. With its poll numbers, that’s bad.