Sunday, July 19, 2009

Declining Approval Leads to "Interesting Developments" on the Hill

Newest Rasmussen
daily tracking poll shows Obama's support continuing to decline. Total approval including those who strongly support (30%) along with those who somewhat support 21% give him a 51% approval vs. 49% total disapproval. Those who strongly disapprove 37% outweigh those who strongly approve giving him a -7 on Rasmussen's approval index.

Obama's declining approval numbers appear to be largely tied to the economy and began a sharp decline with the June unemployment figures. Concern over declining approval is likely fueling the urgency to pass health care reform before the August recess. Though Obama has declared he was willing to spend all his political capital in order to pass health care legislation this year, his dwindling political capital has not escaped the notice of Congressional delegates on both sides of the aisle. The Hill reports a statement by Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), "There's an interesting development occurring behind the scenes, wherein moderate Democrats — so-called "Blue Dog" Democrats — and business-friendly new Democrats are actually starting to have conversations with us to build a coalition from the center outward, to actually really come up with substantive and well-founded healthcare reform." The Hill notes such a coalition threatens to effectively remove Democrats from the driver's seat on health care reform.

It is also quite plausible that "Blue Dog" Democrats would like to put some distance between the very liberal House health care reform package containing controversial proposals such as a mandatory counseling requirement to assist medicare patients in end of life treatment decisions (p. 438). So much for the no one between you and your doctor claim. As the August deadline looks increasingly doubtful, elements of this reform are likely to hang like the Sword of Damocles threatening guilt by mere association.

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