The Blog

Democrats Going All Out

9:29 AM, May 6, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Fred Barnes writes in the Wall Street Journal on the Democrats' push for the rest of their unpopular agenda:

President Reagan had a sign on his desk that said, "It's amazing how much you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit." If President Obama had a sign, it would say, "It's amazing how much you can accomplish if you don't care what the public thinks."

Washington has never been held in lower esteem by Americans than it is today. Yet those in control of Washington—President Obama and congressional Democrats—are bent on enacting a series of sweeping domestic policy changes this year that have one thing in common: They are unpopular, in whole or in part.

This is unprecedented and a bit weird too. A revival of civility and an end to the ugly political polarization in Washington—goals stressed by Mr. Obama in his presidential campaign and again last Saturday in a speech at the University of Michigan—won't be furthered by passage of an unpopular agenda. A more likely result is years of partisan resentment and bitter fighting over efforts by Republicans to repeal the unwanted policies.

It's true that presidents have imposed foreign and national-security policies despite popular objections. President George W. Bush did so in 2007 when he ordered a "surge" of troops into Iraq along with a new counterinsurgency strategy. President Jimmy Carter and the U.S. Senate defied public opinion in 1978 when they gave up American control of the Panama Canal. There are countless more examples.

But I can't think of a single major domestic initiative that became law in recent decades without public approval. Even the much-maligned Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988, which was repealed in 1989, was reasonably popular when it passed Congress the year before.

Energy and climate legislation dubbed "cap and trade," immigration reform, a value-added tax (VAT) to narrow the budget deficit, and Sen. Chris Dodd's financial reform bill (now on the Senate floor)—all are unpopular in one way or another. Mr. Obama and Democrats are determined to pass them anyway.

Read the rest here.

Recent Blog Posts