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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

TDS Co-Editor Bill Galston: Warning Flags for ‘Bold Action’

TDS Co-Editor William Galston has a post up at The New Republic, “Is the Public Ready for Bold Action?,” which makes an opinion data-based case that President Obama doesn’t have a lot of leeway remaining for audacious reforms regarding health care and other progressive initiatives. As Galston explains:

…Trust in government now stands at 23 percent—the lowest level in at least twelve years. A stunning 76 percent of Americans believe that the government in Washington will do the right thing only some of the time, or never. These statistics confirm the findings from a recent CBS/New York Times poll, and they suggest that proponents of government action must overcome deep skepticism….fully 53 percent of the respondents expressed the fear that if government gets more heavily involved in health care, it will just make matters worse. Similarly, the NBC/WSJ survey found 51 percent more concerned that government will end up “going too far and making the health care system worse than it now is in terms of quality of care and choice of doctor” versus only 44 percent concerned that the government will not do enough to lower costs and cover the uninsured.

Galston continues, limning the statistical decline in public confidence in the leadership of the President, congress and the political parties. He concludes “This bad news does not warrant the conclusion that the president’s program has been misguided. It does suggest, however, that the bold actions he has undertaken have taken a toll in public confidence and support.”

One comment on “TDS Co-Editor Bill Galston: Warning Flags for ‘Bold Action’

  1. mjshep on

    Galston postulates that “the bold actions he has undertaken have taken a toll in public confidence and support.”
    I disagree. From where I stand it is the lack of boldness that has taken a toll on public support. Hence the populist backlash. People are worried not that the government is doing too much but rather that its reforms are too tepid. Witness the anger at Wall Street and the banksters, and the entirely modest and uninspired reactions on the part of the administration, as if they are afraid of, or in league with, those who helped bring our economy down.
    Similarly with health care reform. People are concerned because Obama has been unwilling to make a strong and clear case for exactly what he wants and how it will help. Combined with a thoroughly deceitful and vicious campaign from opponents and a helping hand from a compromised media, it is no wonder support has diminished.


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