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I'll have a bit more on this later, but I'm really struck by the retrenchment on exhibit in this Rasmussen poll:

These figures reflect a significant increase in support for the health care system over the past few months. In May, just 35% of adults nationwide rated the system as good or excellent. A year ago, just 29% of Likely Voters rated the system in such positive terms.

The new polling also shows that 80% of those with insurance rate their own coverage as good or excellent. That’s up from 70% in May.

This is the sort of thing that you saw in 1994, too: Faced with the prospect of change, and uncertain after a campaign of dedicated fearmongering, people begin to think that the status quo doesn't look so bad after all. The status quo, of course, actually is that bad. It's unaffordable and unjust and capricious and cruel. And if we do nothing, it will get worse. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation estimates that current trends could lead per-worker premiums to almost double by 2019, and the ranks of the uninsured could grow to as much as 23 percent.

But all that is argument. It's graphs and facts and numbers. What's happening here is emotional. People are getting scared. And they're getting scared because they're being scared.

By Ezra Klein  |  August 11, 2009; 1:19 PM ET
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LOL. Government healthcare good.
Private healthcare bad. Four legs good. Two legs bad.

Posted by: whoisjohngaltcom | August 11, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Spot on.

Dude, you're so right. My question: how is the fanatical right able to fear monger from the political wilderness?

Fear mongering is like treason. The interests of the perpetrators of fear-mongering supersede the nation's greater interests. And they pray on our nation's greatest weakness: dumb people.

How am I getting older, wealthier, and yet more liberal? Didn't see that one coming.

Cheers Ezra.

Posted by: LZ85 | August 11, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse


In my mid-40s, I've watched the GOP's tactics up close and personal for decades, especially their uncanny ability to block reform and to bully the media and voters. I've long thought your optimism about meaningful reform was misguided (to put it charitably). Do you still believe we'll get more than just a hollow shell of legislation or will those Senate and House Dems go back to work in September, scared witless by the insanity currently on display, and vote to affirm the status quo?

Posted by: scarlota | August 11, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

1. Feeling a little glum today, eh, Ezra? Ooooh, those stupid Americans!

2. I've been saying for a long time that my health care is excellent. Absurdly expensive, but excellent. I don't see any real proposals before Congress for fixing the "expensive" part.

Posted by: ostap666 | August 11, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I think that the Democrats are making a huge mistake by trying to pass this garganutan healthcare bill instead of focusing on a few things that they believe that the republicans would be HURT for opposing.

If you think that a public plan is so popular that republicans would be hurt by the voters for opposing it then focus just on that and pass it. The problem is now that even ardent healthcare proponents know these bills are wretched and then wonder why republicans don't fear opposing them. There is a lot to hate in these gargantuan bills and when there are 3 bills the opponents can pick and choose the bad parts of all of them.

Posted by: spotatl | August 11, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Rasmussen has a rightward-leaning bias, as displayed during the election. I'd prefer to see the averaged results of several polls before inferring anything, though I don't doubt that the Campaign of Fear and Lies has nudged the numbers up.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | August 11, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately the legislative process has made the fearmongerers' jobs fairly easy, i.e., to single out one feature in one version of healthcare reform and then distort it. Under even the most optimistic scenario, major healthcare reform is difficult (it was sixty years from the time Teddy Roosevelt advocated for national health insurance until Medicare was enacted). It would be preferable (tactically, at least) to focus on one or two major reforms (near-universal coverage with a public option)and enact those, than it is to overload the circuits by including a long list of tangential and potentially controversial issues (end-of-life counseling), as the 1,018-page House health reform bill does.

Posted by: wdarmes | August 11, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse


Few things scare me more than socialism.

But then, I've never been afraid of freedom.

Posted by: whoisjohngaltcom | August 11, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

The entire side of the debate against any health care reform is littered with illogical blurbs like this one. The GOP is not operating in reality, and it';s starting to infect ordinary Americans.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | August 11, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I tend to take Rasmussen with a grain of salt. It is possible Rasmussen's numbers are an outlier. So I'll wait until other polls show a similar trend.

Did Americans leave of their senses. They are acting like a bunch of gullible scaredy-cats.

How intelligent people fall for the most absurd nonsense is beyond me.

Paint a few scary scenarios, throw in some words like euthanasia, rationed care and medical treatments, socialism, death panels and all of a sudden people decide they love the current healthcare system whereby common sense, logic, reason are all but abandoned.

While republicans and special interest groups stay focused on distracting people with fabricated scary scenarios health care reform very well may go down in defeat. It may be a short term win, but in the long-run everyone loses in-more-ways-than-one.

It would be one thing if we were having an honest debate. But we're not even having a debate.

We are having a scare-fest.


@ wdarmes | August 11, 2009 2:44 PM

End of life counseling is not controversial. Republicans introduced years ago.

If a family member is mentally or physically incapacitated someone will need to make medical and/or life-death decisions.

Would you prefer the hospital or a family member to make those decisions for you? Wouldn't you want someone you trust to carry-out your instructions?

It has been a long time since the republicans have come up with ideas of this caliber. It is the type of input sorely missing from the public conversation.

Posted by: serena1313 | August 11, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

"I've never been afraid of freedom."

As long as it's at someone else's expense. Always the way with the galtards.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | August 12, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

"As long as it's at someone else's expense."

LOL. How Orwellian. The whole point of freedom is that nobody should be forced to cover someone else's expenses.

Posted by: whoisjohngaltcom | August 12, 2009 7:28 AM | Report abuse

As if this should be surprising Ezra? When the right's willing to lie, intimidate, and steal their way to obstruction, while the democrats piss themselves and hide in the corner, is it a big surprise that we're not going to get anything out of this whole show?

Why don't we have hundreds of hacks out there screaming claims about how the republicans are trying to use the reform to take away your medicare, legislate even steeper rate increases for your insurance to line their friends' pockets, double the patent rights length for new drugs so you can never afford them cause big pharma's funding their campaigns?

None of that's strictly true, but that doesn't stop the right...

Posted by: nokona13 | August 12, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Right - "All us John Galt heroes who made our own way, manly men and manly women that never had a hand up!"

You can all 'Go Galt' any time now. We've had a good record of your contributions to society over the last eight years, and frankly, I think we can survive without it.


Posted by: Jonnan | August 13, 2009 4:01 AM | Report abuse

For those who abhor Rasmussen, there are other polls:

Pew shows 61% of those polled say the way people are protesting is appropriate, and free speech. Only 34% say it is inappropriate.

USA Today poll shows 51% believe these demonsrations are democracy, and only 41% believe they are an abuse of same.

And more importantly, Ezra, INDEPENDENTS are more sympathetic to the protestors' views by a 2 to 1 margin now.

It was a big mistake for the Obama administration to characterize demonstrators as "birthers" or "racists" or "ignorant wingnuts" or "un-American."

Sneering at those who disagree, and surprisingly, who have actually READ what's in the legislation, has produced a backlash among the Independents, Ezra, who are sympathetic to the views of the demonstrators.

You can lay this failure at the feet of the Obama administration's arrogance and condescension, period.


Posted by: auntmo9990 | August 13, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse

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