Submitted By Todd on December 16th at 6:17pm
Obama's domestic battles have taken their toll, as his approval ratings on key issues have sunk to the lowest points of his presidency. On health care, 53 percent disapprove of his performance, a new high. On the economy, 52 percent disapprove, also a new high mark in Post-ABC polling. Same on the deficit, on which 56 percent now disapprove of his stewardship.Even after two arm-twisting sessions over the past week, his own party continues to stall efforts to pass health care reform.
Despite a one-on-one meeting Tuesday with President Barack Obama that lasted 30 minutes, Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., said he still has concerns about abortion and other issues. Nelson, the only known holdout among 60 senators whose votes are needed to move the bill, said it had been his third meeting in eight days with the president.Maybe Ben is starting to enjoy all the face time with the President. Perhaps he's waiting to be paid off with some sort of incredible benefit for his district with our money. Or - and I admit it's hard to imagine - he actually has a belief system that he won't violate in order to satisfy political expediency.
Just as unhappy with the legislation was former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean, an outspoken liberal. Interviewed on ABC's "Good Morning America," the physician and former presidential candidate said the Senate bill has some good provisions, "but there has to be a line beyond which you think the bill is bad for the country."Meanwhile, the GOP has found a way to delay things a bit, using a parliamentary procedure to bog things down as Obama gets weaker by the minute, forcing the Senate clerk to read a 767 page amendment by Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders.
GOP Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma had sought approval to require that any amendment considered by the Senate must be offered 72 hours in advance and with a full cost report. When he was rebuffed by Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, Coburn invoked his right to require that an amendment by another Democrat be read aloud. That sent the Senate into limbo, since the amendment by Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders is 767 pages long. It calls for guaranteeing coverage to all through a public program similar to Medicare and is not expected to pass.As the President gets less popular, as Americans become more solidly opposed to his policies, his ability to pass legislation that even Democrats in Congress oppose, like healthcare, becomes more fragile.
Under the weight of these more negative reviews, the president's overall approval rating has dipped to 50 percent, down from 56 percent a month ago. Other national surveys have recorded his ratings at or below 50 percent in recent weeks, but this is his lowest level yet in a Post-ABC News survey.When the Senate passes healthcare, then it's on to a bi-cameral conference committee that has to iron out differences between the Senate and House versions, which are vast. How exciting it would be to see the whole ugly bill collapse.