You really have to hand it to Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), the chair of the Senate Finance Committee. He and the “Gang of Six” have been working diligently to come up with a bi-partisan health care plan, and he succeeded. Yesterday as he stood up – alone – in front of the press, he proceeded to present a health care reform bill that both sides of the aisle seem to think su-diddly-ucks.
How bad? Fifty pages of new taxes that even have Democrats criticizing, and the President privately met yesterday with Sen. Rockefeller (a D who has been the most vocal critic) and the bi-partisan duo of Sen. Bennet and Sen. Wyden. I can picture the President starting off the conversation with, “So, they tell me you guys have a plan too….”
This all of course is breaking the heart if poor Karl Rove. Who just know how much in pained him and wounded his soul (or would have if he had one) to write in his Wall Street Journal column how bad things were for the Democrats before BaucusCare (or The Baucus Bill) was introduced. So sayeth a heartbroken Rove…
Mr. Obama is forgetting that the political landscape can change when the pool of people who vote changes. In 2008, five million more people voted than in 2004. Mr. Obama drew two million more African-Americans to the polls. He also shifted support among younger voters (ages 18-24) from 54% Democratic, 45% Republican in 2004 to 66% Democratic, 32% Republican. Today, Mr. Obama’s approval among young voters is down 10 points since July, according to Gallup polls. It may drop more when those voters discover that the plan put out by Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.) this week would fine them up to $950 a year for not being insured. Young people are 9.9% of the population. Fining them only antagonizes them.
Fiscally conservative independents who were already upset with Mr. Obama’s stimulus spending will only be more upset with his health-care plan. It starts running annual deficits in its third year, piles up $219 billion in deficits in its first decade, and could add $1 trillion to the debt in its second. Last weekend’s grassroots rally against ObamaCare in Washington was a sign that voters are getting active to oppose the president’s agenda. If it keeps up, middle-class anxiety about the national debt could make 2010 a tough year for any Democrat up for re-election.
Those Democrats will soon notice that seniors are worried about Mr. Obama’s proposed Medicare cuts and that Hispanics the fastest growing part of the electorate are slipping away from the president. Gallup polls reveal his support among Hispanics fell 14 points to 67% over the summer. Mr. Obama may be changing the electorate for 2010, but in the wrong direction for his party. This has worried many of the 70 Democrats in congressional districts carried by George W. Bush or John McCain.
You know, it might be worth pointing out the thirty two different health care reform bills that Congressional Republicans have introduced in the House, but right now I’m more enjoying the snark. Granted, I have the luxury of being in the 70% who like what they have. But besides that, I have a hard time taking any of this seriously when the President seems less concerned aboot actually reforming health care that he does putting his name on a bill that say “health care reform” on the cover.