Amid the recent turmoil in the Capitol over Obamacare, could it be that ‘ole Joe Biden has finally gotten something right?
Consider the following statement he sent in an email to enrollees of the Democratic National Committee mailing list this Sunday:
“One senator is running the show in the Republican Party right now. He’s not my senator. And he’s not your senator. But for some reason I can’t understand, the Republican Party is letting Ted Cruz lead their charge against Obamacare — a law that they’re still fighting tooth and nail, despite the fact that every branch of the federal government has approved it, and despite the fact that we’re seeing real signs that it’s starting to work.”
Biden continued, “Now, Ted Cruz isn’t a bad guy. But he needs to be reminded that he’s not representing the will of the American people when he tries to obstruct and defund Obamacare…. There was a time when leaders from both parties came together to do what made sense for the country. This isn’t the Congress I remember being a part of. And it sure isn’t a Congress that represents the American people.”
Biden points out that Obamacare was approved by every branch of federal government, thus making it the law of the land. This much is true. He is also right when he says the Republican Party is “letting Ted Cruz lead their charge against Obamacare.”
But is he correct when he says that Cruz “is not representing the will of the American people”?
At first glance, the polls seem to support the assertion that Ted Cruz is “representing the will of the American people,” as right-wing news outlets portray the matter. However, the story may not be so simple.
A new Fox poll found that 68 percent of Americans are “concerned” about their health care under the new law. A USA Today poll found that 53 percent of Americans “disapprove” of Obamacare. And a CNN poll found that 55 percent of Americans “do not favor” the law.
Right-leaning media outlets have predictably used these statistics to assert that Obamacare is decisively “unpopular” among Americans.
But this polling data does not necessarily show that people want to completely defund the law. For instance, CNN found that “[The 55 percent of] Americans who oppose the law are split. Thirty-five percent of people who oppose the law felt that it was too liberal. Sixteen percent thought it actually wasn’t liberal enough.” And although Fox found that 68 percent of Americans are “concerned” about their healthcare under Obamacare, that does not necessarily mean they want it overturned or defunded. Furthermore, out of the 68 percent of American who are “concerned,” 25 percent are only “somewhat concerned.”
Although disapproval appears high in recent polls, the reasons for trepidation and the extent of public apprehension may be varied. The mainstream media has done apparently little to investigate the reasons for and the extent of concern.
Ted Cruz may be “leading the charge” for a large number of Americans who have buyers’ remorse over Obamacare. But is he representing “the will of the American people?”
If current polling numbers are all we have to judge by, it’s not a slam dunk case for Cruz.
Does blind partisanship hinder honest coverage of the Obamacare debate?