If President Obama decides to mount a military strike in Syria, he will be bucking public opinion, which is overwhelmingly against intervention. He’s doing the same by moving ahead with the Affordable Care Act, which only 37 percent viewed favorably in a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll. On the other hand, 57 percent in the same poll say they oppose de-funding the health law, part of a three-year jumble of conflicting findings that may not settle until long after most of the law takes effect next year.
Presidents are often criticized for governing by poll, but Obama and George W. Bush emphatically have not. Bush pursued the Iraq war, a Medicare prescription drug plan, and a bank bailout in the face of public disfavor. Obama followed suit when he bailed out the auto industry and muscled through a stimulus package. Both presidents have been at least partially vindicated. The economy is recovering, people like the prescription benefit, and the auto industry is booming.
Iraq is a different and more tragic story. But whether you agree with these presidents’ policies or not, it’s a tribute to them that they do what they believe they must and should, regardless of what the polls say in the moment.
Via Jill Lawrence.