A Little Clarity On Iraq And Health Care May Go A Long Way
You have to wonder why the Democrats seemingly have a difficult time seizing the reins handed to them in November and staking out their divisions with the GOP confidently. Notwithstanding how you feel about the surge, and the internal divisions within the party on Iraq, I don't understand why Reid and Pelosi cannot simply say the following:
"Democrats have two major goals before the 2008 election: to get this country out of Iraq, and to set in motion health coverage for all Americans. The only barriers to these goals are George W. Bush and the Republican Party."
The New York Times reports today on the latest NYT/CBS News poll, which shows how easily Democrats could make these arguments, and how receptive the country would be to such a message, if the Democrats would only try.
Iraq continues to drag Bush down to new lows, and the poll shows that nearly two months after the surge was announced, Bush is even less popular than before.
Over all, Mr. Bush’s job approval remains at one of its lowest points, with 29 percent of all Americans saying they approve of the way he is doing his job, compared with 34 percent at the end of October. Sixty-one percent disapproved, compared with 58 percent in October, within the margin of sampling error.
Twenty-three percent of those polled approved of the way Mr. Bush is dealing with the situation in Iraq. Twenty-five percent approved of his handling of foreign policy.
Exactly how hard is it to stand up to a guy whose poll numbers are in the toilet?
On Health Care:
Democrats have a wide open playing field to propose national health insurance, as there is overwhelming support for SCHIP expansions and strong support for making health insurance available to all Americans, even if it means giving up the Bush tax cuts to do it. (Note that support for a single-payer system has climbed.) And if the Democrats are looking for a reason to push the SCHIP expansion immediately down the White House's throats, they can start with this.
While Democrats are traditionally strong supporters of expanding health coverage, this survey found many Republicans and independents in agreement.
The poll found Americans across party lines willing to make some sacrifice to ensure that every American has access to health insurance. Sixty percent, including 62 percent of independents and 46 percent of Republicans, said they would be willing to pay more in taxes. Half said they would be willing to pay as much as $500 a year more.
Nearly 8 in 10 said they thought it was more important to provide universal access to health insurance than to extend the tax cuts of recent years; 18 percent said the tax cuts were more important.
Some specifics from this poll show the opportunities Democrats have to take a stand:
Approve or Disapprove of the way Bush is handling foreign policy:
Approve or Disapprove of the way Bush is handling Iraq:
Which domestic issue is the most important?
Health care for all: 55%
Traditional values: 13%
Reducing taxes: 11%
Should the federal government guarantee health coverage for all Americans, or is not the government’s responsibility?
Should guarantee: 64%
Not responsible: 27%
What’s more important, maintaining the tax cuts or providing access to health insurance for all Americans?
Access for all: 76%
Tax cuts permanent: 18%
43% now say things are going very badly for America in Iraq, the highest number ever in this poll.
Only 15% believe Iran is a threat that requires immediate action.
The opportunities are there, if only the Democrats would seize them.