I was recently reminded of a conversation that took place about five years ago, if I recall correctly. I was lamenting in doomsday fashion to my sister and her, at the time, medical student husband about the inevitability of socialized medicine in this country. It’s just going to happen…eventually, I remarked. How does it not when nearly half of the country pays nothing in income tax and is thus able to use their voting power to simply take more and more from the other half? Their taxes won’t go up with increased government programs…so why not vote to increasingly supplement their pocketbooks and lifestyles at the expense of those who do pay? When things are so out of balance, and one of the two major political parties survives off making it continually more so, how is socialized medicine not inevitable?
They both responded that no, to the contrary, that would never happen in this country. The American people simply won’t stand for it. Taxes would go too high, and tax paying citizens would simply revolt before it could become a reality. REVOLT? Since when do Americans revolt? (Excepting the two major wars that define our nation’s character, of course). I mean, when do ordinary modern-day Average Joe American citizens revolt on matters of domestic policy, in recent history anyway? When I think revolt, I think the masses taking to the streets armed and ready for a fight. I think of unstable countries where governments are, or are attempted to be, overturned on a regular basis. That’s not America. We have elections and then peaceful transfers of power, period.
The response: People will revolt at the polls, stupid. And yes, this does happen in America. Remember the 1994 midterm elections, aka the “Republican Revolution”? I do. I remember my mother running into the house excitedly, waving the morning paper wildly the day after. “Republicans have retaken the Congress after forty years! The people have finally had enough!” she exclaimed, or something to that extent. And then there were the 2006 midterms that went the other way. OK, but the reality of waiting until election day to express our dissatisfaction is that it is a delayed reaction. It happens after the fact. So how does a revolt at the polls stop something like socialized medicine, especially with our current President working at lightening speed to enact his agenda since before he even took office? Well, it seems that my burning question is now being answered.
A truly grassroots resistance to, gasp, Obama actually trying to implement the horrid policies that he campaigned on, has risen from the ashes of the 2008 presidential election that thrust him into power. Apparently, some of the people who voted for Mr. Obama have been surprised to find out that he is actually as liberal as his voting record implied. Combine these people with conservatives who have been horrified to witness just how quickly and aggressively he has tackled the radical liberal agenda that they knew he brought with him to the Oval Office, and you have the beginnings of a revolt. Heck, I am a part of it, having attended two tea parties in the past three months. But the tea parties are about a broad spectrum of ideas, which all fall into the general protest against the massive, rapid expansion of government. I do my best to stay informed, and to keep a pulse on the general fervor of what’s going on, but I have been truly astonished at the even broader opposition, which is being targeted very narrowly at a single issue, specifically Obama’s health care bill.
The tea parties were of course ridiculed by the mainstream media, after they could no longer be ignored by it, but the protests were largely ignored by the White House. With the recent uproars at localized town hall meetings over the issue of health care, though, the White House can no longer simply ignore, and has itself turned to ridicule. What is so incredible is that the efforts to marginalize these town hall goers with scoff and scorn has in fact backfired on the not so long ago invincible Obama. According to Thursday’s Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll, Obama now has a -8 approval index (ouch), with 37% strongly disapproving of him to only 29% strongly approving. Check out this from Rasmussen:
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that voters favor the GOP on the issue [of health care] 44% to 41%.
The latest results mark the lowest level of support measured for the [Democrat] party on the now-contentious issue. Public support for the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats has fallen to a new low with just 42% of U.S. voters now in favor of it. That’s down five points from two weeks ago and down eight points from six weeks ago.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that opposition to the [specific] plan has increased to 53%…44% of voters strongly oppose the health care reform effort versus 26% who strongly favor it.
And Republicans continue to come out ahead of Democrats in Generic Congressional Ballot surveys. In fact, “the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 42% would vote for their district’s Republican congressional candidate while 38% would opt for his or her Democratic opponent.”
So what we are seeing, I believe, in these uprisings at town hall meetings is a harbinger of the upcoming 2010 midterm elections. True, the elections will be after any vote on health care reform, but there is a short enough span of time in between the two that if too many Democrats who are up for re-election are shaking in their boots now, they just might vote NO in an attempt to save their heinies down the road. The electorate is saying, or rather yelling, heed to our revolt now or you are really going to see a revolt come election day! Herein lies our hope.
This hope is composed of much more than just conservatives Republicans; it has to be. It’s in the numbers, but it is also in the anecdotal evidence. People are talking…and the mood is increasingly against Obama, especially on health care. The same brother-in-law referenced at top, who now works at a hospital as a cardiology fellow, says he has not encountered a single doctor who favors Obama’s plan, not even the Democratic ones. One in particular, who indeed voted for Obama, thinks the plan is simply stupid. My doctor brother-in-law is of the opinion that Obama’s attempt at a public option is dead, and that whatever health care “reform” that passes, if any, will be reversible. Camille Paglia, a Democrat who voted for Obama and who continues to support him, “confessed” in her recent Salon column her “dismay bordering on horror at the amateurism of the White House apparatus for domestic policy…case in point: the administration’s grotesque mishandling of healthcare reform.” She asks, “what do Democrats stand for, if they are so ready to defame concerned citizens as the ‘mob’?” Good question, Camille…one that more and more people seem to be wondering. And it’s a darn good thing they are.