Deficits and Health Care
As alluded to in my earlier post today, two separate developments are coinciding to create a pretty bad atmosphere for progressives and the Obama administration: public opinion surveys indicating that Americans are beginning to worry a lot about budget deficits, and real-life events on Capitol Hill that reinforce the argument that universal health coverage may be more expensive than originally calculated.
In terms of the public focus on deficits, it's worth noting that polls continue to show that very few Americans blame Barack Obama for the fiscal condition of the country. I have a post up at fivethirtyeight.com examining that finding, and speculating that Republicans may be accidentally insulating the president from blame for deficits in their obsessive desire to attack George W. Bush for "betraying conservative principles" by spilling so much red ink.
While you are over at 538, you should check out Nate Silver's post examining public opinion trends during the Clinton health care debate of 1993-94. He concludes that the president's willingness to serve as a front-and-center advocate for health reform mattered then, and matters now. And as I indicated earlier today, I couldn't agree more. More importantly, that's the advice being offered by TDS Co-Editor Stan Greenberg, who has been there and done that when it comes to health care reform.
It's time for some beef from the Bully Pulpit.