President Obama's healthcare woes

The president keeps pushing for reform, but the American public appears to be losing faith

Published July 20, 2009 2:45PM (EDT)

The White House isn't showing any signs of letting up on its push for healthcare reform; President Obama is set to make remarks on the topic Monday, after having done the same on Friday, and he's going out to talk to the networks as well. And with good reason -- at a critical time for reform legislation, Obama appears to be losing the public's faith on the issue.

A new poll conducted by ABC News and the Washington Post puts approval of Obama's handling of healthcare at 49 percent; that's down from the 57 percent approval he had on the issue in April. The same poll, though, finds that approval of the president in general is holding fairly steady -- but at 59 percent, it's still the lowest number recorded by that particular poll, and down six points in a month.

Opponents of reform see an opportunity. The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol, who helped organize the strategy to defeat Democratic proposals during the Clinton administration, writes on his magazine's blog:

With Obamacare on the ropes, there will be a temptation for opponents to let up on their criticism, and to try to appear constructive, or at least responsible. There will be a tendency to want to let the Democrats' plans sink of their own weight, to emphasize that the critics have been pushing sound reform ideas all along and suggest it's not too late for a bipartisan compromise over the next couple of weeks or months.

My advice, for what it's worth: Resist the temptation. This is no time to pull punches. Go for the kill.


By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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