The Blog

The DNC Will Be Disappointed to Learn Nearly 60 Percent of the Country is Part of 'Extremist Mob'

12:40 PM, Aug 5, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

There is so very much that is objectionable about the Left's and the DNC's response to opposition to the health-care bill at town halls across the country, that it's hard to know where to begin.

But let me take a stab at one detail that might become problematic for the bill's proponents. Attacking its critics as "extremist," "right-wing" "mobs," "pawns" of the insurance agencies and "lobbyists," and otherwise smearing them shamelessly might work if the crowd really were a vocal minority not reflective of public opinion, and if the descriptions were accurate of something approaching most of them.

But neither is true. Given that, one would think the DNC would tread more lightly than this.

The Democratic Party will pay far lower a price for their immature rhetorical abuse of voters than the Republican Party would, thanks to many friends in the media who will take the press release at face value and investigate the "mobs" forthwith. The White House will pay a lower price than a Republican White House would have for asking citizens to report their neighbors to the administration for spreading anything "fishy" about the President's plans, even via "casual conversation." (Do you remember when local police directives to "see something, say something" to prevent possible terrorist attacks and Homeland Security suggestions to "report suspicious behavior" were a cause for civil libertarian outrage on the Left? But those were designed to protect mere buildings, not the vital mission of Medicare cost-savings and government-run health care, you see.)

But surely there will be some price to pay for equating nearly 60 percent of the voting public with "mobs of extremists." According to a new Qunippiac poll:

In the Quinnipiac survey, 55% (including 54% of the key independent voter bloc) said they were more concerned that the overhaul would increase the deficit than that Congress would not pass some kind of overhaul. That same 57% (and 59% of independents) disagreed with the following statement: "Overhauling the nation's health care system is so important that it should be enacted even if it means substantially increasing the federal budget deficit."

The poll also contains another piece of the public opinion puzzle that Mr. Obama and the Democratic congressional leadership may find problematic: Voters by a large margin don't want a health care overhaul if it can only garner Democratic votes. In other words, even though Democrats control both houses of Congress, voters are suspicious of a bill that only has Democratic support.

The poll found 59% of the public disagreed (and only 36% agreed) with the following statement: Congress should approve a health care overhaul even if only Democrats support it."

It's utterly probable that some-even many- of the concerned folks showing up at health-care town halls are the kind of older, white, Middle America Democrats Obama went to great pains to woo. The rows of VFW ballcaps and suspiciously well-dressed protesters bespeak a contingent of Hillary Democrats and even the ballyhooed Obamacans, convinced by Obama's moderate shtick and now left wondering what they got themselves into. And, if such folks are not in those crowds, they are in the 60 percent of voters who identify with them, as are the all-important Independents.

This is what they think of you. Or as the Democrats call you, "the mob:"