Monday, July 20, 2009


What's wrong with ths picture?

Heading into a critical period in the debate over health-care reform, public approval of President Obama's stewardship on the issue has dropped below the 50 percent threshold for the first time, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll....

Since April, approval of Obama's handling of health care has dropped from 57 percent to 49 percent, with disapproval rising from 29 percent to 44 percent. Obama still maintains a large advantage over congressional Republicans in terms of public trust on the issue....

That's right -- there's been some slippage, but he's still way ahead of Republicans on this and other issues, as the poll numbers make clear:

And yet he won't name names when trying to rebut criticism of his policies. He won't identify his primary critics as Republicans. There are vague references to the same tired, worn-out ideas, or however it is that Obama puts it, but he won't take advantage of the toxicity of the Republican brand.

By the way, when Bill Clinton was trying to reform health care, he didn't have anything resembling the solid advantage over the GOP Obama has. On a comparable question, he slipped below 50% by June of his first year, and he didn't get back above 50% until 1996:

I know, I know -- he engenders goodwill by not being partisan. Yeah, I guess -- but there's rarely been a better time to be partisan. And he's not taking advantage.

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