President Barack Obama is expected to sign the health care reform legislation tomorrow and he will return to Iowa City on Thursday. It will be his first trip outside of the nation’s capital since the House of Representatives narrowly passed the bill on Sunday evening.
The President will discuss health care at the University of Iowa and in the city where he first unveiled his medical plans three years ago. Iowa City was then a bastion of Obama support but that has changed dramatically. The President’s approval has slipped steadily in Iowa since he carried the state in 2008 and after winning its leadoff Democratic nominating caucuses that year. According to the Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll, only 33% approve of his health care plans while 58% disapprove.
A study released Monday indicates the bill is highly unpopular with the very professionals which will be asked to treat an expanded pool of insured Americans. Seventy-one percent of U.S. physicians said they had an unfavorable opinion of the administration’s plan. The poll of 1,217 physicians was conducted by HCD Research and the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion. Of those who had a negative view of the President’s plan, 80% said the new law would have made them less likely to enter the medical field.
A major reason why American’s have soured on the President can be seen in Iowa. The significant theme in the 2008 Obama campaign was to bring the nation together, and to govern in “a post partisan manner.” That has never happened, and not one Republican in the House or Senate voted for the health care bill. All of the GOP reform proposals were rejected, and it is now clear Obama is one of our most partisan presidents.
Obama has constantly been in the national spotlight since he won the Iowa precinct caucuses on January 3, 2008. His address that evening in Des Moines emphasizes his subsequent failure to cross party lines and to move forward in a bipartisan manner. In claiming his Iowa victory, Obama said:
You said the time has come to move beyond the bitterness and pettiness and anger that’s consumed Washington; to end the political strategy that’s been all about division and instead make it about addition – to build a coalition for change that stretches through Red States and Blue States. . . We are choosing hope over fear. We’re choosing unity over division, and sending a powerful message that change is coming to America.
I’ll be a President who finally makes health care affordable and available to every single American the same way I expanded health care in Illinois – by bringing Democrats and Republicans together to get the job done.
This was the moment when we finally beat back the politics of fear, and doubt, and cynicism; the politics where we tear each other down instead of lifting this country up. . . . We are not a collection of Red States and Blue States, we are the United States of America; and at this moment, in this election, we are ready to believe again.
Barack Obama entered the White House with an enormous reservoir of political and public support. His honeymoon with the American public was greater than any incoming president in the past three decades. He had better numbers, and they were usually by double digits, than Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan or either George Bush on every item traditionally measured in transition polls.
President-elect Obama told CBS’s Steve Croft about his ability to bridge differences and bring people together. He said he wanted to rally Americans to a common cause. To date, the only groups Obama united are the Republican Party and his political opponents. The President is now returning to Iowa but the message of his 2008 campaign has been forgotten.