As President Barack Obama and his family pack their suitcases to head off to Martha's Vineyard later this month, I'm quite sure of one thing. [Obamas Rent Republican' $20 Million House on Martha's Vineyard, by Alex Spillius, The Telegraph, July 28, 2009]
Before I get started on just how badly off amnesty advocates find themselves these days, permit me to detour briefly to comment on the stupidity of Obama's choice of Martha's Vineyard as a vacation destination.
While a growing number of Americans will settle for a "staycation", the Vineyard Gazette reports the Obamas have agreed to rent a $20 million, 28.5-acre private compound—Blue Heron Farm—with a swimming pool, private dock, movie theater, basketball court and golf practice tee, for a reported $35,000 to $50,000 a week, during the last week in August. [First Family's Vacation Take Shape Around Familiar Chilmark Farm, by Sam Bungey, Vineyard Gazette, July 28, 2009]
If the rental sum reaches the high end of the estimate, it will equal the national median household income put by the U.S. Census at $50,233.
The nearly 10 percent of unemployed Americans can't be comforted by the idea of the Obama hanging out with Cape Cod elitists like David Letterman, Mike Wallace, Diane Sawyer and professor of victimology Henry Louis Gates
Here, listed according to the importance that I believe Obama assigns them, are his top two pre-vacation concerns.
First, his poll ratings.
To the vainglorious Obama, nothing is more essential than his popularity. For Obama, however, bad news is everywhere. In most major polling categories his numbers have been trending downward for more than a month.
As of July 29, the Rasmussen Reports' daily presidential tracking poll showed that only 29 percent of the nation's voters now "Strongly Approve" of Barack Obama's performance as president. Thirty-nine percent "Strongly Disapprove" which gives Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -10, a four point drop over the past week and an 11 point decline over the past month.
Since March, Obama's approval index has dropped from a high of +30 to its current low of -10, a forty-point swing.
(In a less well known poll but one that ties in with Obama's vacation plans and underlines his diminishing popularity, more Americans would rather spend a week in August with television talk show host Kelly Ripa than the president. If that doesn't alarm him, I don't know what would.)
Second, the status of his health care reform package.
Writing about health care, even one day ahead of my filing deadline, is risky because the issue is in a constant state of fluidity.
For example, on July 29, the New York Times published two stories that reflect the turmoil surrounding health care legislation.
In the first, the NYT reported that House Democrats ended their 10-day impasse between its liberal and conservative members by agreeing to cut the bill's cost and exempt many small businesses from having to provide health benefits to workers.
What is to Americans a more important part of the Democrat's accord is that party leaders promised to defer any vote by the full House until September. By so doing, Congressmen returning home to their districts could take the time test public sentiment on health care. [House Democrats End Impasse on Health Bill, by Robert Pear and David M. Herszenhorn, New York Times, July 29, 2009]
Awaiting the returning Congressmen will be an increasingly skeptical audience.
The second NYT story reported that:
"Americans are concerned that revamping the health care system would reduce the quality of their care, increase their out-of-pocket health costs and tax bills, and limit their options in choosing doctors, treatments and tests, the poll found. The percentage who describe health care costs as a serious threat to the American economy—a central argument made by Mr. Obama—has dropped over the past month." [New Poll Finds Growing Unease on Health Plan, by Adam Nagourney and Megan Thee-Brenan, New York Times, July 29, 2009]
That Americans are "concerned" about healthcare's cost is easily understood—not surprisingly, one of the big problems legislators face is how to pay for the trillion-dollar health reform initiative. No one knows for sure which individuals or what care will be covered or what those who might be covered would have to pay. [How Much Health Care for $1 Trillion?, by Susan Page, USA Today, July 15, 2009]
In addition, voters have no confidence that Congress will even read the legislation's final version.
Further hampering health care's prospects is that Americans have finally awaken about the true consequences of the $787-billion economic stimulus plan Obama proposed and rammed through Congress in February.
Three of four voters believe it hurt the economy rather than helped it. If the stimulus is an expensive failure, then why should anyone believe that a Democratic-sponsored health care bill that could cost more than $1 trillion would be any more effective?
Weaving together Obama's self-obsession with health care and comprehensive immigration reform, I came up with the following analysis.
Now, at best, health care will pass only after nasty Congressional infighting that would leave the legislators wary about undertaking a more contentious subject: amnesty.
A more likely chain of events may lead to health care's defeat. The Congressional summer recess will give its opponents plenty of time to expose some of the proposal's uglier elements, specifically that illegal immigrants would be covered if certain versions of the bill pass.
Even money says that because of its price tag and illegal alien coverage, health care will be defeated.
Once that happens, three things would be set into motion.
A further erosion of Obama's already sinking popularity and a diminishing of his bully pulpit leverage.
A leeriness among Congressional incumbents about their 2010 reelection chances. See the Democratic wipe out during the 1994 mid-term elections post-Hillarycare for an example of how badly things can go for incumbents who try to push bad legislation on an unwilling electorate.
Removal from life support of whatever infinitesimal chance an amnesty bill has of being introduced this year.
"No year is ever a good year to seek immigration reform. Immigration reform makes Social Security reform look like a walk in the park. The Obama Administration should concentrate on health care and energy legislation this year and not waste capital on this most difficult of all subjects."
But if, as it now appears probable, health care fails then amnesty will take its last gasp right along with it.
Joe Guzzardi [email him] is a California native who recently fled the state because of over-immigration, over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth rate stable. A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.