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The President’s Freefall

Tuesday, February 23, 2010  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

A Quinnipiac Poll of the Ohio electorate shows incumbent Democratic governor Ted Strickland improving his standing a bit, and holding a lead of 44% to 39% over former congressman John Kasich.

The same poll shows an approval rating for President Obama of only 44%, against a 52% disapproval rating. Given Strickland’s relative decent showing in the poll, this has to be read as an enormous battering of the president’s reputation.

Three other polls from earlier this year show John Kasich with leads of from 6 to 10 points, which suggests that Quinnipiac’s sample is favorable to the Democrat Strickland. If that is the case, imagine what the numbers for the president would look like isf the Quinnipiac sample approached that of the other polls.

Whatever his standing –terrible, or worse-than-terrible– among Buckeye voters, it will decline even more with this Thursday’s stunt summit. The president’s handlers are persuaded that the American people are as dumb as cement, and that tricks and fast talk will persuade them that Obamacare is new and improved when it is in fact only even bigger and more expensive than in December. Every time the president pushes this or any other plan to swell government even more and increase the debt on the next generation even more obscenely, his numbers will fall, and with those numbers the future of Democrats in the House and Senate.

The Washington Post describes the president’s plan in a headline as “staying on the offensive,” and then in the body of the report as Obama’s decision “to go big one last time.” What it really is is undeniable proof that this president is hard left to the core, indifferent to public opinion, and willing to sacrifice scores of his Democratic allies in the House and Senate to try and push through a remake of American society via its health care systems.

Michael Barone quotes on Beltway insider as suggesting the summit is really just a dance of the exit strategies. That is not what the netroots are seeing. They are cheering the attempt to drive the destruction of American medicine forward.

“Boehner and McConnell figured they had won. They figured wrong,” declared a DailyKos poster this morning. “[D]on’t you believe the crap about health reform not being popular.”

This kind of see-no-evil-polling is a road running to a political cliff.

Yesterday the WaPo’s Chris Cillizza passed on the assessment of political handicapper Charlie Cook:

Political handicapper Charlie Cook said that it was “very hard to come up with a scenario where Democrats don’t lose the House” in an interview with National Journal late last week.

Cook, who, in the interest of full disclosure, gave the Fix our first job in political Washington, went on to note that while House Republicans have their fair share of problems but “you could triple the Republican Party’s problems and I’d still rather have their problems than the problems facing Democrats.”

Cook has, of late, been extremely down on Democrats’ chances — an attitude born, he argued in the interview, of “fundamental, total miscalculations from the very, very beginning” by the White House about the direction to take the country. Cook added that the White House’s miscalculations in terms of their agenda were “of proportions comparable to President George W. Bush’s decision to go into Iraq.”

Caution about November is the order of the day because of the vast number of events that will happen between then and now, which could include at the most dramatic end of the scale a war with Iran.

But the president’s insistence on staying far to the left of the American mainstream has unleashed an enormous pushback from Americans, many millions of whom never before cared about politics. They care now because the president and his radical allies on the Hill are threatening the basic American consensus about the size and role of government while spending at a ruinous level. I expect this summer to see massive anti-Democrat rallies in Washington D.C., and still more massive sums contributed to the campaign coffers of principled opponents of Democratic incumbents who cooperated with Obama’s attempted takeover of the health care system. was just a small beginning to the political payback House and Senate Democrats are facing. That’s why Bayh got out. It is why Byron Dorgan got out. It is why even Chuck Schumer is praying that no serious Republican takes a flyer against him.

The president’s stubborn insistence on his rejected plan and his maneuvering to push it through despite three clear referenda on it from New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts tells the voters everything they need to know about whether there was hope he would moderate his plans.

He won’t. The only way to stop Obamacare is to defeat scores of Democrats in the fall and to make the inevitability of that result plain right now.

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