Free Markets, Free People

Ben Nelson


Independents and key demographics

As I mentioned on the podcast last night, I’ve quit looking at how Democrats or Republicans react to a particular poll. Their reactions are all too predictable. If the Dems are for something by 86%, the Reps will be against it by 90%. Nothing to learn there. Nope, I pretty much zero in on how the independents feel about a particular issue to try to figure out who has the most support. And as I’ve mentioned, more and more the independents seem to be siding with the GOP. That’s not good news for the Dems, no matter what Chuck Schumer thinks.

That brings us to another key to electoral success. Key demographics. We heard so much made of the “young vote” in 2008. They were a key because they actually turned out for once and voted mostly Democratic.  One of the most coveted demographics, however, is that of the elderly – over 65. That’s because they always vote.

So, with that given, let’s take this poll if FL as an example of what’s happening out there.  Yes, it’s a temperature check of the citizens of that state at this time. We all recognize it can change. With that disclaimer out of the way, the usefulness of this poll is found in the information about how independents view recent events.  It also contains info on the key elderly demographic.  For objective observers there are no real surprises.

Florida voters dislike the new healthcare law so much that President Barack Obama and the state’s top Democrat, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, are paying a hefty political price, according to a new survey and analysis by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.

Only 34 percent of Florida voters support the new law while 54 percent are against it, according to the poll. Opposition is significantly strong among two crucial blocs: those older than 65 and voters with no party affiliation. Seniors disfavor the bill by a 65-25 percent margin, while independents oppose the law 62-34.

The poll, conducted last week, is the first to be taken in Florida since Obama signed the healthcare reform bill into law.

If you’re wondering why the president continues to try to sell this thing and why Nancy Pelosi has told Democrats headed out on Easter recess to do the same, this Florida poll gives you a nice indicator. Independents as a whole oppose the bill almost 2 to 1 and elderly independents show the same level of opposition.  It certainly doesn’t appear that the president’s umpteen speeches or the assurances of Congress that this bill is wonderful have met with much success.  Apparently only the Dems bought into the Bill Clinton assurance that everyone would love them once they passed that law.

Why they think that’s going to change if they just push a little harder, especially with the corporate write-downs in the news, is beyond me (and why is Henry Waxman keeping those write-downs in the news with hearings?).

A couple of other results from the poll to mull:

It shows that Floridians have a more negative than positive view of Obama by a margin of 15 percentage points. And they oppose his so-called “cap-and-trade” global warming legislation as well as the new healthcare law.

Why are FL voters opposed to cap-and-trade?

Only 35 percent believe global warming is proved, while 57 percent say it isn’t an established fact. By a 34-50 percent spread, voters oppose the cap-and-trade legislation. And five times as many voters believe it will raise the cost of fuel.

And I have to say I believe the majority to be correct on all counts.

This has had an effect on the numbers for Democratic Senator Bill Nelson as well. His approval rating has dropped a significant 18 points. His only saving grace is he has until 2012 before he must again run. The bad news may be he’ll be on the same ballot as Obama. As for his sudden unpopularity, this was the reaction of his spokesperson:

“If there’s a dip in the polls, it’s due to this inaccurate and unfair bashing for sticking up for these seniors,” McLaughlin said.

Of course it is – and they’re too dumb to know it, aren’t they Mr. McLaughlin? It is that persistent little thread that I see throughout the Democratic reaction (the dumb rubes are being hornswoggled by the slick Republican pitchmen) to bad poll numbers that indicates they’re still deceiving themselves. The old “it’s not the message, it’s the delivery” fantasy that Dems continue to believe.

In the meantime, the polls continue to tell the same tale, over and over and over again.

~McQ


Challenging The Health Care Reform Bill On Constitutional Grounds – Is It Really An Option?

One of the more dishonest ways the Congress is able to portray various spending bills as not adding to the deficit or being revenue neutral is to push mandates onto the states and have them pay a large portion of the cost. That way, that cost is hidden from the original numbers churned out by Congress and validated by the CBO. That’s the case in this health care bill and one of the primary reasons Sen. Ben Nelson sought an exemption for his state of Nebraska before he’d support the current Senate bill.

Well that’s not sitting well with any number of states going through hard financial times right now and seeing even more spending mandates coming their way in the health care reform legislation. They’re threatening to go to court if what they’re calling the “Cornhusker Kickback” is left to stand in the legislation:

Thirteen state attorneys general have sent a letter to Congress threatening legal action against health care reform unless a provision in the Senate bill given to Nebraska is removed.

The provision is known as the “Cornhusker Kickback,” because it gives Nebraska a permanent exemption from paying for Medicaid expenses that would be required of all the other states. This means that taxpayers in other states would be paying for an increase in Nebraska’s Medicaid population. Medicaid is a federal-state health care program for the poor.

“This provision is constitutionally flawed,” the attorneys general wrote. “As chief legal officers of our states we are contemplating a legal challenge to this provision and we ask you to take action to render this challenge unnecessary by striking the provision.”

I bring this to your attention because I think this may be the primary way those who oppose the health care bill will have to fight it once it has passed – in court.  There are all sorts of problems and pitfalls with such a strategy.  But I’m also of the opinion much of the bill is “constitutionally flawed” and wide open to challenge. Of course, given the rather liberal interpretations of that document in the past by SCOTUS, it’s rather difficult to predict whether challengers will have any success. However, I think the mandate to buy health insurance, for instance, is something which can be challenged on constitutional grounds. And obviously these 13 States Attorney Generals think they have constitutional ground to challenge the kick back (I wish they’d challenge the mandate to the states instead).

We’ll see, but supposedly that’s what the court is there for – although since Kelo, I’ve had very little confidence in the court’s actual desire or aim to uphold the actual intent of the document.

~McQ





If The Public Option Is Dead The Democrats Killed It

Not that I’m complaining.

Max Baucus’ Senate Finance Committee voted on Jay Rockefeller’s public option amendment. No joy for public option supporters:

After five hours of debate, the Senate Finance Committee this afternoon voted down Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s proposal for a public option to compete with private insurers.

Though a majority of the committee’s Democrats supported it, the amendment was defeated overwhelmingly, 15-8. The proposal sought to create a public health insurance option that would set rates like Medicare does.

Now as I understand it, there are 13 Dems and 10 Reps on that committee. So it is important to understand that all that is required for anything to come out of that committee the Democrats want is to vote the party line. 10 Republican cannot stop a thing.

Which brings us to the second public option offering and vote:

The Schumer market-responsive public option amendment has now failed. It was called at 3:50.

The vote was 10-13. Three Democrats opposed.

Two Democrats (Bill Nelson of Florida and Tom Carper of Delaware) voted for Schumer’s amendment after opposing Rockefeller’s.

But Sens. Max Baucus, Kent Conrad and Blanche Lincoln still opposed.

Baucus has been quoted as saying his job is to fashion something that will draw at least 60 votes (and a public option won’t do it).  Ben Nelson feels that they need 65 votes (meaning 5 Republicans have to go along) on any Senate bill to make it “legitimate”.

Of course this doesn’t mean some other Democrat won’t try to offer a public option amendment to the bill, but my sense is if Schumer can’t get it done, it’s not going to get done. I guess the Senate is left to talk co-ops and triggers instead while the leftosphere and the House Progressive Conference does a slow burn.

~McQ