It appears that the GOP leadership is already a tad delusional about the dimensions of the political leverage they gained on Tuesday, at least judging by the comments of Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner, who is quoted in today’s New York Times thusly:
I believe that the health care bill that was enacted by the current Congress will kill jobs in America, ruin the best health-care system in the world and bankrupt our country…That means that we have to do everything we can to try to repeal this bill, and replace it with common-sense reforms that will bring down the cost of health insurance.
Never mind the legislative obstacles to repealing HCR just yet. Boehner has a ways to go before he can claim support from the public, as TDS Co-Editor Ruy Teixeira explains in his latest ‘Public Opinion Snapshot’:
…Claiming a mandate doesn’t make it so. Consider these results from two recent polls…A mid-October AP-GfK poll asked respondents what they would prefer Congress to do about the new health care law. Contrary to the conservative story line, 57 percent wanted to either leave the law as is (18 percent) or change it so it does more to change the health care system (39 percent). On the other side, 41 percent wanted the law changed so that it does less to change the health care system (9 percent) or completely repealed (32 percent).
In a late October CBS News/New York Times poll respondents were first asked if they favored repeal of health care reform: 45 percent said no and 41 percent said yes. Those favoring repeal were then asked whether they would still support repeal if that meant “insurance companies were no longer required to cover people with existing medical conditions or prior illnesses.” That query reduced the pro-repeal contingent to just 25 percent.
As Teixeira says, “That’s not exactly a mandate for appeal.” You can’t blame Boehner for feeling a smidge triumphalist today. But the public has a different take on the repeal thing. Earth to Boehner.