It’s a lot easier to campaign against the incompetent, big-spending, war-mongering Republicans than to convince the American people that they would be better off if the post office provided their health care. At least, that appears to be the lesson of the current health care battle.
At her home on Tom Sawyer Road here the other night, Bonnie Adkins agreed to begin spreading the word that President Obama‘s embattled health care plan needed help.
Ms. Adkins, who for the past two years devoted hundreds of hours helping Mr. Obama get to the White House, hosted a potluck supper that was advertised to Democrats in this eastern Iowa town along the Mississippi River. People were invited to bring a favorite salad or dessert – and their cellphones – to make calls drumming up support for the president’s agenda.
She wondered whether her house would hold everyone, but there was no reason for worry.
“We had 10 people. Not a huge number, but good,” said Ms. Adkins, 55, who has been an Obama volunteer since the first day she saw him during a stop here on March 11, 2007. “The enthusiasm is not there like it was a year ago. Most people, when they get to Nov. 5, put their political hat away and it doesn’t come out for three years.”
As the health care debate intensifies, the president is turning to his grass-roots network – the 13 million members of Organizing for America – for support.
Mr. Obama engendered such passion last year that his allies believed they were on the verge of creating a movement that could be mobilized again. But if a week’s worth of events are any measure here in Iowa, it may not be so easy to reignite the machine that overwhelmed Republicans a year ago.
This should surprise no one. There were lots of reasons people voted for Barack Obama last November. The best and most convincing arguments for him never were actually “for” him, but were against John McCain and the GOP. Most of Obama’s voters, at least those who put him over the top, never wanted a federal takeover of their medical care.
The president is now learning the ugly facts of politics, to his great cost.