…Then all of the political consequences that both he and Speaker Pelosi are now experiencing make sense. It explains the most inexplicable thing to me: why did the President over-rule his Chief of Staff on the question of siding with MoveOn.org early on in the health care debate over the public option? Because President Obama has always wanted a single payer system.
The media refuses to report this, but opposition to the public option is one of the hardest points of opposition within the Blue Dog revolt. Like making abortion a benefit paid for by taxpayer dollars, the public option is a binary thing — you are either at yes or no (zero or one) on the question.
And as Sean Trende points out in his RealClearPolitics op-ed, Why Obama Isn’t Governing From The Center, everything becomes clearer once you understand President Obama’s support for a single payer — Canadian style — health care system.
Trende then goes on to explain the seemingly inexplicable — why President Obama keeps doubling down on a politically losing hand that is the Pelosi-Waxman-Kennedy health care plan:
we look to 2010. The average midterm loss for a President’s party since World War II has been 10.5% of its seats. But the economy isn’t looking too hale right now; the average loss for a President’s party when real disposable income rises by less than 2% is 13%. The average loss for a President’s party when the President’s approval is at or below 50% is 16%. And if you look at real disposable income increases of less than 2% and a Presidential approval of less than 50% — at the very least a possible scenario for 2010 – you end up with a murderer’s row of midterm elections: 1946, 1974, 1982, 1994, 2006.
The four scenarios described above would translate to losses of 27, 33, 41, and 49 seats, respectively for the Democrats. The latter two would hand control of the House to Republicans, while the former would deprive the Democrats of working control of the House. And remember, these are just averages. Some results in each category are lower, but some are higher.
In other words, Obama realizes that the odds are not likely going to improve for the implementation of an aggressively liberal agenda. Right now, he is in the midst of a liberal moment, where he has governing majorities in each House. He wants to get a health care bill through that is the closest to his philosophy, and he knows that future Congresses are unlikely to have similarly hearty Democratic majorities.
Trende also cites David Brooks recent column in the NYTs “Liberal Suicide March,” and President Obama’s uber-leftist voting record (most liberal Senator in 2007) by the National Journal when Obama was a U.S. Senator as general background music for his observations.
Trende allows for this other interpretation of President Obama’s behavior:
The other possibility – and like I said, these aren’t mutually exclusive — is that Obama is just a bad executive. This doesn’t mean he’s a bad President. Being a good President in part involves giving good speeches and serving as the head of state. Obama excels at this aspect of the job.
It seems clear that Trende has pierced some of the mystery of the real reason for President Obama’s nose dive in both the polls and the nose dive his health care bill has taken.