If Democrats insist on passing unpopular laws, they won't control Congress for long.
By FRED BARNES
Alexis de Tocqueville never met Harry Reid. Had he encountered the Senate Democratic leader—or President Barack Obama or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—de Tocqueville might have learned about a new twist on his concept of the "tyranny of the majority."
The Frenchman toured America in the 1830s and published his conclusions in the classic "Democracy in America." He noted the powerful impact of public opinion. "That is what forms the majority," he wrote. Congress merely "represents the majority and obeys it blindly" and so does the president. They are free to brush aside minority opinion, creating a threat de Tocqueville described as the "tyranny of the majority."
Democrats in Washington do have large majorities in Congress. But instead of reflecting popular opinion, they are pursuing wide-ranging initiatives in defiance of the views of the majority of Americans. This stands de Tocqueville's concept on its head.
The most striking example is health-care reform. It is intensely unpopular but was approved by the House in November and the Senate on Christmas Eve. Asked in a Rasmussen poll in mid-December if they'd prefer no bill to ObamaCare, 57% said they would. Only 34% said they'd rather ObamaCare be enacted.
Yet Democrats are forging ahead as if the public actually approves of their health-care reform. Why, when Republicans are preparing to hammer them on the issue in next year's elections, would they do that?
Democrats offer different explanations—besides their obsessive attachment to national health care—which suggests that they aren't quite sure of the political fallout.
After Senate Democrats locked up the 60th vote to assure Senate passage of ObamaCare, Mr. Obama sounded worry-free. Risk? What risk? The bill "is a major step forward for the American people," he said. The president didn't mention the public's disapproval as expressed in countless polls. Vice President Joe Biden, in an op-ed in the New York Times, didn't either. More>>