|April 9, 2010|
|Obama 'Stays the Course' on Health Reform Push|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|Many supporters of President Obama want him to move beyond his healthcare reform victory to areas such as jobs and winding down military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. That would be a terrible PR move for the president, one that would play into the hands of the "Tea Partiers." |
Though encouraged by hard-right anti-Obama people, the grassroots Tea Party crowd isn't going to go gently into the night any time soon. The cold reality for Obama: Tea Partiers are far from the political "Mad Hatters" that many of those on the political left make them out to be. That explains why Obama got to hunker down on health.
A USA Today/Gallup poll finds that two-thirds of Americans polled from March 26-28 support the Tea Partiers or remain on the fence about whether the movement is good or bad. USAT/Gallup finds though Tea Party people skew towards the political right, they generally reflect the age, education, employment status and race of the public at large.
For instance, thirty-four percent of Tea Partiers did'nt go to college vs. 35 percent of all adults. Sixteen percent graduated from college compared to 17 percent of the rest of America. Tea Partiers are a little more upscale then the general population. Fifty-five percent of them earned $50K or more a year vs. half for all U.S. adults.
The healthcare law is where a chasm exists between Tea Partiers and the rest of America. Nearly nine-in-ten (87 percent) of Tea Partiers consider health reform a "bad thing." Half of Americans share that view.
The president’s continued advocacy for the health law aims to keep the 50 percent of healthcare reform supporters from joining the Tea Partier crowd.
The Tea Partiers know the effort to reform the Medicare law happened long after President Johnson signed that bill into law in 1965.
Nancy Pelosi, a worthy opponent to the Tea Partiers, symbolized that Medicare connection when she used the gavel that banged Medicare into law for Obama’s reform bill.
The President is wise to invest as much political capital as it takes to "stay the course" on healthcare until popular support is clearly on his side.
That investment will garner rich political dividends in the mid-term election.
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