Will America Buy What Obama Is Selling?

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Photo: White House/Getty Images

Now that health-care reform has passed, the discussion turns to what it will mean for Democrats in November. Whether it exacerbates or mitigates the electoral setback they're already expected to experience depends largely on whether President Obama can use his powers of persuasion to make the legislation popular with voters. This won't be easy. Depending on which poll you look at — and even which question within a given poll — America is either split down the middle on the legislation, or tilted against it. In the battle for hearts and minds, however, one thing has changed: Health-care reform is no longer a hypothetical. By November, the nation will not have turned into the new Soviet Union. Grandma will not have been murdered by government bureaucrats who literally stuff red tape down her throat. But, as we wrote earlier, some very popular provisions will already be in effect. Advantage White House, according to David Axelrod:

“They wanted to run against a caricature of it rather than the real bill. Now let them tell a child with a pre-existing condition, ‘We don’t think you should be covered.’”


Axelrod wishes. Obviously, though, the Republicans wouldn't say this to a sickly child. That would just be mean. Instead, they'll agree with some of the popular aspects of health-care reform, but continue to insist that the bill is, overall, a government takeover, an economic calamity, yadda. Considering how effective that argument has been for, oh, the past year or so, Obama has his work cut out for him.

Big Win for Obama, but at What Cost? [NYT]