Along with the indefatigable Dan Hayes of Reason.tv, I attended today's MoveOn.org-AFL-CIO protest on Capitol Hill (video forthcoming). "President Obama is holding a virtual health care forum live from the DNC building," says the MoveOn press release, "and right-wing groups are mobilizing to protest." We met a lone libertarian (who seemed to have happened on the event), but no right-wing, let-them-eat-cake, Obama-ist-der-Fuehrer protesters. Most of those we spoke with fretted about the future of the public option, which all admitted was necessary as a Trojan horse for a single-payer system.
Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, thinks that if Obama continues to falter on the health care issue, the GOP is in a perfect position to retake Congress:
A top Obama ally predicted Wednesday in an interview with ABC News that Democrats will lose their congressional majority in next year's midterm elections if they fail to put a health-care reform bill on President Obama's desk.
"I think we're talking losing control of Congress," said Andy Stern, the president of the Service Employees International Union. "[The failure of health-care reform] would totally empower Republicans to kill all change."
"It's hard to imagine the Democrats convincing the public that Republicans are to blame for health-care reform going down when the Democrats have such large majorities," he added. "After last year's promise of change, voters will start feeling buyer's remorse.
Stern is right, though his dark auguries are just a veiled threat to the administration. But it is true that the Democrats have gift-wrapped this issue for the feckless, leaderless, gormless Republican Party. As Obama's poll numbers plummet, just imagine the political hay the GOP could make of Obama's cack-handed "reform" efforts if it had someone sensible, someone coherent, to push back. Instead, Sarah Palin sucks up all the media oxygen with her rambling discursions on "death panels."