John Carney says that Obama bet that Republicans would fold
"When pollsters told the advocacy groups the public option probably wouldn't fly, they were told to paper over the problem with a better 'message,' according to a participant in the project.
'We tried to do our best to come up with some fancy words to help talk about this,' this participant said, but in the end, he said, marketers and pollsters involved in the Herndon Alliance may have told their advocacy group clients what they wanted to hear.
It was an early warning of the trouble that was to engulf President Barack Obama's most ambitious legislative effort despite years of careful groundwork laid by supporters.
Two overarching problems have bedeviled the Democrats' health-care push. One is the difficulty of persuading people who already have health insurance that the plan offers something for them. Polls suggest many Americans are happy with the coverage they have.The other is the cost, estimated at $1 trillion over a decade. While Democrats say the plan will be budget-neutral, Republicans say the cost savings and tax increases being used to fund new programs would better go toward reducing the fast-growing federal budget deficit."
"The Obama administration 'expended great effort to line up the support of health-care insurers, pharmaceutical makers and care providers, believing that by keeping them around the table, they could win over Republicans and stop the kind of industry-led attacks that helped sink the Clinton plan,' writes the Journal team.
It was supposed to be a simple formula. Win over the health care industry shepherd, and the Republican will follow like sheep. But it didn't work.(Hat tip: BOTWT)
What seems to have gone wrong can be described as a failure of the imagination: Obama's administration just never believed Republicans would stand up for their limited government principles if that meant opposing business interests. They were apparently assuming that Republicans and conservatives could be won over by winning over 'business interests,' as if free market and anti-government positions were just rhetorical cover for policy making at the behest of business. "