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Americans' verdict: Obama's healthcare debate was not really about their health at all

Democrat p[resident Barack Obama wants you to like his healthcare bill

Some fascinating, at times seemingly contradictory and ultimately revealing, poll results about the healthcare bill warfare from the helpful folks over at CBS News in recent hours.

Displaying, but more importantly documenting, what some might call a keen grasp of the obvious, a substantial majority of Americans has now decided that the yearlong, interminably-documented, mind-numbing, bone-cracking arm-wrestling among Democrats and also between the two political parties really had very little to do with anything having to do with actual healthcare.

Or with the combatants' oft-professed and by-golly-heartfelt concern with the physical well-being of constituents, bless their hearts.

In fact, most Americans have decided, after all these months, it was really more about politics than anything else all along. BINGO!

Sixty-one percent of Americans, CBS reports, think the Republicans were fighting about.... for political reasons while 57% have the same thought about those Democrats.

Despite all the concerned yada-yada about millions of uninsured Americans and evil insurance companies looking to make money and sadly ill people billed for larger premiums because of their larger medical expenses, only 35% of Americans think the Democrats were really fighting about good policy and only 29% feel that way about Republicans.

In other words, Sherlock, healthcare has been, is and will remain a surrogate issue in the never-ending fight for national political control. And those earnest, vocal soldiers on both sides of the noisy struggle were merely chanting pawns. And it's not bad for raising money either.

Sixty percent of Americans disapprove of congressional Democrats' handling of healthcare, and 64% disapprove of the minority GOP's work in the same area, whatever that was. But, Watson, since Americans sent so many more Democrats to Congress back in 2008 (and 2006 too, come to think of it), the donkey party stands to lose far more in November's midterm elections than the elephant one.

Change to believe in and all that puede stuff being on the right foot this time around.

The good news for Democratic congressional leaders is that, believe it or not, many Americans do not feel they yet know enough about Nancy Pelosi (36%) or Harry Reid (50%) to have an opinion. No joke!

No one knows exactly where these people have been for four years, and this poll outcome does not augur well for the next job evaluation of the PR folks in those politicians' offices.

Now, as for those Americans who've been paying attention, that's the bad news for Democrats: 8% think favorably of Harry and 11% like Nancy. About three times as many (23% for the Nevada senator and fully 37% for the San Francisco grandma with the large gavel) really don't like them.

Now, the good news for the Smoker-in-Chief: Although most Americans know that Obama's healthcare bill is more about politics than stethoscopes (not to mention a gazillion dollars) and although his approval ratings have plummeted from 70+% to 50-% from Inauguration Day, CBS finds that 55% think passing the political bill is still somehow an accomplishment of some sort.

Congratulations, you've just won a free car wash on the next rainy day. Plus, can you imagine the presidential political obituaries if the community organizer had lost this one?

Speaking of politics and Obama's ongoing inability/unwillingness to change the harsh political tone of Washington (see photo above), eight of 10 Republicans think the ex-state senator is doing a crummy job while eight of 10 Democrats think the real good talker is doing swell.

If you wonder how thousands of Ticket readers cast their own votes on Obama's healthcare bill in recent days, check out the results over here.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Associated Press (file).

Comments () | Archives (16)

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I am getting tired of the amazingly one-sidedness of Andrew Malcolm's "reporting"? Using cheap name-calling like "Smoker-in-Chief" or attributing the environment in Washington to the party trying to get things done and not to the party that has been scoring political points by just creating gridlock seems like someone viewing things from a very biased perspective. The fact is that reviving health care reform from the dead IS an accomplishment and IS a benefit to our country.

I suspect that Mr. Malcolm misses the days when he was press secretary within the Bush administration. Keep dreaming.

(AM responds: Good one! Like Tim Russert, Chris Matthews, George Stephanopoulos, David Gergen and so many others from the Democratic side, you take what you learn from actually being inside politics and put it to use in writing about how the great national pasttime works. Doubt many of them miss their politics days. Fascinating but the pay is awful and the pizza cold. 2) This is blogging. 3) It's labeled as commentary. 4) You get your very own say here. 5) No one's stopping you from not coming if you get too fatigued. Thanks for this visit anyway.)


This man scares me. Actually, he does not scare me, what he is willing to do scares me. Yes, this was never about healthcare. It was all about power. What the democrats failed to realize is that we (independents and republicans together) are going to fight back and remove them from power in the same way that pelosi spoke..."by whatever means necessary." Obama is toast as well.

The new health care bill is not perfect - far from it - but as the old Chinese saying goes, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." There will be improvements made on it down the years - there absolutely needs to be - but this is a fairly good first step. We're on our way! The Conservatives will whine, but that's what they do best. They'll whine just as they whined when Lyndon signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965, or the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Just as they whined when Harry Truman desegregated the army in 1947, or when Franklin D. Roosevelt brought Social Security into being in 1935. They'll whine just like they did when Woodrow Wilson tried to form the League of Nations in 1919 - or when Abraham Lincoln ended the institution of slavery in 1863! They whine a lot. Did you ever notice that?

There's gonna be a whole lotta obstruction goin' on between now and Election Day, you can be certain of that. The success of health care reform in America can only spell trouble for the GOP. They will do everything humanly possible to see to it that it fails completely. Count on them trying to get it declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of John Roberts. This is going to get really interesting.

Tom Degan

Did any of these passed without opposition?
- Emancipation Proclamation by Lincoln
- Women's suffrage by Wilson
- Lend/Lease by FDR
- Desegregation of the military by Truman
- Civil Rights Act by Johnson

Who would stand against those today?

geez...this Malcolm guy is some kinda grouch! Next thing you know he'll be shaking his cane and yelling at the kids to get heck off his lawn! Sarcastic, contemptuous, and cranky. Just another old white guy p.o.'d because the world is changing around him and he...well, he. does. not. like. it.!

so he whines and insults and denigrates and blames. Poor old man.

(AM responds: Watch out, "Mara." You're next! :--)) Thanks for taking the time to leave such an insightful comment.)

Socialized medicine ensures a permanent leftist boot crushing our heads forever.

So yeah, it's about politics.

The reason for the ignorance of Americans is Liberal rags like the LATimes NYTimes AP and WashPost.
If you so called "journalists" would do your jobs instead of being a arm of the DNC more Americans would understand the danger their freedom and liberty is in.

This is your country too. Shame on YOU!

(AM responds: So how do you explain the voters? Everyone's just robots who do what the newspapers they don't read tell them to do, right? P.S. This isn't a newspaper and if you bothered to read the item or the other comments before commenting, you'd see both sides complaining. Hmmm. But thanks for dropping by.)

It's not just about "politics", it's about GOVERNMENT CONTROL. The stated objective, throughout Obama's campaign, was to "fundamentally transform" America into a socialist state. Congrats, Obamabots. You got your wish.

It never was about health care. It was and is about redistribution of wealth. Even single plan Obama concocts is about redistribution of wealth. Go back and search "Obama and economic justice." It's all there. Health care, Cap and Trade, amnesty, they're all vehicles for the redistribution of wealth.

Your wealth, that is. Not his, not Pelosi's, not Kerry's.

Yours. It always impacts most heavily on those who work the hardest. It never touches old wealth, although it's time it did do so.

Health care was not the end of this- it is the beginning of the collectivization of the United States of America. Sadly, this country is no longer a representative republic. It has become tyrannical rule.

I'd be curious to know exactly how the poll questions were framed, and what was the profile of the respondents. Because it seems clear to me that the two thirds of the public who oppose this bill have recognized exactly what the issue is -- i.e., the total bankrupting of the American economy if this particular form of national health service is implemented -- and they also recognized that this is why the Republicans were dead set against it. The only transparent process in the entire saga was the "health care summit" during which the President scowled and scolded, and the Republicans presented their own proposals for reform, which have been blown off and mischaracterized for a year. People get this, despite the dinosaur-media blackout.

What a smarmy, obnoxious "story."

DO NOT pretend to speak for Americans, Mr. Malcolm. Your narrow minded myopic view of events is only in keeping with those challenged intellectually as well as culturally. You sir, speak only for the ignorant few and not for America.

(AM responds: Don't pretend to speak for anyone but myself on this blog. And thanks for reading it.)

Do you want tne IRS to invade into your private Life more than they do now? Under this bill, the IRS might deduct money from your paycheck, maybe your bank acc., or put liens on your property in order to make you pay for healthcare. Big government are the beneficiary of this healthcare bill. They will collect your money for 3 or 4 years then when you need it for care, they will have spent it. That's what they did with social security money and any other money they can get their hands on.

Will someone please tell RainyDayInterns that (1) the Emancipation Proclamation was a presidential proclamation by Republican President Abraham Lincoln, not an Act of Congress, (2) federal women's suffrage was enacted by a constitutional amendment ratified by state legislators, not "Wilson", (3) Lend/Lease was enacted by statute but opposed by the same kind of isolationists who opposed the Coalition's efforts in Iraq, (4) Truman desegregated the armed forces by presidential proclamation, not by Act of Congress, and (5) the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was an Act of Congress, not "Johnson," and was opposed by more Democrats than Republicans.

considering that there are provisions in the bill covering government-financed student loans (?!), i would say that, yes, the bill has less to do with healthcare than with a government power grab.

Obama is a great president of USA , he did good work and America is growing day by day, there are more facility for taking health so, there people are so healthy and perfect.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
Republican Politics
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