Well, I’ve seen better.
The current poll standings are bad enough, but Patrick Caddell and Doug Schoen point out how much more unpopular the President and Democrats can become:
In “The March of Folly,” Barbara Tuchman asked, “Why do holders of high office so often act contrary to the way reason points and enlightened self-interest suggests?” Her assessment of self-deception — “acting according to wish while not allowing oneself to be deflected by the facts” — captures the conditions that are gripping President Obama and the Democratic Party leadership as they renew their efforts to enact health-care reform.
Their blind persistence in the face of reality threatens to turn this political march of folly into an electoral rout in November. In the wake of the stinging loss in Massachusetts, there was a moment when the president and the Democratic leadership seemed to realize the reality of the health-care situation. Yet like some seductive siren of Greek mythology, the lure of health-care reform has arisen again.
As pollsters to the past two Democratic presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, respectively, we feel compelled to challenge the myths that seem to be prevailing in the political discourse and to once again urge a change in course before it is too late. At stake is the kind of mainstream, common-sense Democratic Party that we believe is crucial to the success of the American enterprise.
Bluntly put, this is the political reality:
First, the battle for public opinion has been lost. Comprehensive health care has been lost. If it fails, as appears possible, Democrats will face the brunt of the electorate’s reaction. If it passes, however, Democrats will face a far greater calamitous reaction at the polls. Wishing, praying or pretending will not change these outcomes.