The survey we took last week on the health care debate/town hall phenomenon resulted in a strong response from readers. Normally, we receive 2000 or more survey votes and written opinions sent in by readers range from 300-500. In this instance, we received written responses from about 1600 readers in addition to the survey votes. The total votes were about the same but the number of written comments were substantially larger.
Perhaps the most surprising survey result is the large majority expressing their dissatisfaction with how things are going in our country. Almost 79% of those responding indicated that they are very dissatisfied or dissatisfied. About 18% of those responding are satisfied or very satisfied with the direction of our country.
76% of those responding think that Congressional Democrats have done a poor job of handling the health care debate/town hall phenomenon and more than 73% think the White House has done a poor job.
43.8% think the Congressional Republicans have done a poor job.
There is little doubt that President Obama has stirred political passions and debate in his short time in office. The number of written responses and the obvious emotion behind so many of the written comments is unusual. And, while some would argue that federal employees will support President Obama’s agenda as it will add hundreds of thousands of new federal employees to the federal government payroll and, perhaps, increase benefits for federal employees, he has clearly not won the hearts and minds of the federal employees and retirees who have responded to this recent survey.
The rationale for these responses are revealed in the written opinions send in by readers. A representative sampling of these responses is below.
Here is a quick summary of the responses.
As indicated above, we received a large number of written opinions. We have divided representative samples of these comments into two groups. As indicated by the charts, the largest group is dissatisfied with the direction of the country. These readers often cited their dislike of "socialism’ and the rapidly growing national debt that is occurring under the current administration and Congress.
The second group of comments, which are fewer in number, support the actions taken by the administration and generally supportive of President Obama. Many of these comments criticize former President Bush and generally disparage the Republicans.
Here is a sample of the comments from the first general grouping which includes some of those who are not satisfied with the overall direction of the country.
I think we’ve made a grave error electing Obama.
Trampling of the US Constitution by the Executive Branch. This is a free country not run by an individual that creates Czars to take control over areas that are not under control of the Executive Branch.
Having lived in a socialist country, with a social health care program, I can honestly advise folks, "YOU REALLY, REALLY DON’T WANT THIS."
Vote them all Out! Country needs a referendum for issues as important as this. Discussion must have substance. Congress should draft a bill and then hold the Town Halls. Lack of info is causing the lack of communication. We’re in a when in doubt just lets shout mode. Both parties are an embarrassment.
Scared and mad what at all the changes being made to the country. It’s not America anymore!
With Nancy Pelosi accusing demonstrators of wearing swastikas, and calling demonstrators un-American, then Mike Sola’s family being threatened in the middle of the night for speaking out at a town hall meeting with Rep. John Dingle, Americans should be extremely dissatisfied. The current Administration, Congress, the Senate, have completely lost their minds. We should all be very afraid of the direction this country is headed.
The president is leading us toward a socialist country. He also has put us so far in debt our great-grandkids will be paying for it!!
The Country is going to hell.
Agenda’s of this administration appear to be all politically motivated and egotistical in nature. Obama needs to get his agenda passed just to be able to brag at what HE has accomplished, vacuous though it may be. The Constitution, which is what all of these elected officials are sworn to uphold, is being thrashed at every turn to make way for a socialist profile with no concern for the devastating effects on our country.
We seem to be slipping rapidly into socialism. The powers that be are working directly from Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals handbook. I am concerned that there may be very perilous times in the very near future. Normal Americans are being marginalized and most recently – discounted. Normal Americans will not take that for long.
Too much federal government intervention! Don’t Tread on Me!
Congress. They do nothing for the people it’s all for themselves. Money in the pocket and then what every it takes to get re-elected.
In a thumbnail? The total loss of the American way of life.
Dictator, perhaps the president would do better leading a socialist nation rather than trying to socialize freedom.
The hiring of radicals to important positions in the government and the socialist bent of the liberal democrats.
We are clearly moving to the left and becoming more Socialistic. Also, there is no longer reasonable debate. Just name calling. Sad, that people can not express their opinion without being attacked.
I believe that the direction the president is going will lead us into a socialist regime that will be very difficult to reverse if we don’t stop him now.
No matter how much the Americans voice their dislike of this new system, it will be pushed down the American’s throat, just like everything else has been since this new presidency. My eyes fill with tears when I see and listen to how Americans are being blindsided and the total disregard for the working Americans!
Washington is being run by socialists. They think they are the new privileged monarchy; all they are interested in is power. The people and country be dammed.
When a sitting president and his White House staff have to resort to mob style thuggery to protect their health care agenda, climate change agenda (aka pack of lies), this country is not heading in the right direction. We are not fools Mr. Obama, we understand you are pushing your political agenda to the detriment of this great Country. Your agenda will bankrupt us all.
The uncontrolled debt, the extremely poor way of handling it by our "elected" officials, the disgustingly abhorrent partisanship by the clowns in congress, and the "my way or the highway" attitude pervasive at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
I feel that our country is being sold down the river by the current administration for their own agenda at the cost of every current and future American’s freedom. This spending free-for-all in Washington has got to stop and stop now! Enough is enough. I don’t care if they are Dems, Republicans, Independents, or what, if they voted on the Bail outs or the Health Care bill in the House and they’re one of my Reps – they’re not going to get my vote next go-round!!!!
Too much like Marxism
We are not a socialist country. We are a democratic Republic with a constitution that says the rights not specifically assigned to the central government are held by the states. The central government is too big, becoming insensitive to our rights and ignoring our constitution. I’m ready for Texas to secede.
I don’t like the president apologizing to other countries about the U.S. AND I don’t appreciate his lies nor his dictatorial ways. Nor his saying we are not a Christian Nation. He can keep his Socialism for himself. Leave me my Republic Democracy and my freedom.
This country is becoming too socialistic. The redistribution of wealth will not work there will always be those that are super achievers and those that just get by. In a socialist society only the politicians are the elite because they have the power. We need a middle of the road government where rights are preserved yet there is help for those that really need it.
So many people I thought I knew do not support the president
We seem to be losing more and more of our freedoms. If you disagree with the White House you are un-American. If you disagree with the politicians they send in Union thugs to quiet you. The politicians pass bills without reading them because the White House tells them to. The country is way in debt and we are owned by foreign communist powers. This country was founded on Christian principles and now we have a President that denies our Christian standards. We are not standing strong behind Israel. The White House is using corrupt organizations like ACORN….
The leaders of our country now could care less for the Constitution that they swore to uphold.
Here is a sample from the second general grouping of written opinions. We have included fewer of these comments as there were a small percentage of the written responses submitted to our survey. This includes written comments from those who are generally satisfied with the general direction of the country.
We have returned to the rule of law under the provisions of the Constitution.
This man can’t fix a deficit in 8 months what it took years to create. Regarding health care, and the president’s "radical" health care option, people had a problem when medicare was created too, but try to take it away now, you’ll have very angry people. People fear changes, and this president is throwing so many changes out there it’s scaring people, quite naturally. It’s just like when you send your child to 1st grade, they’re scared and don’t like it. The change seems too much. Even though it’s something they need to go to the next level (high school), they still don’t like it. As a parent (like Washington) you must take them there and wait until they adjust, and give them as many encouraging words as you can to help them endure the change.
I am satisfied that the country is trying to correct the corruption in the financial markets.
I’m a lifelong democrat and someone would have to hold a gun to my head to support anything remotely related to immoral GOP plans or principles.
Any questions? And I’LL be be this way forever.
We have great leadership now, a huge improvement over last term.
We are getting out of the mess created by the last administration. However, Health Care is very important and I don’t have any confidence anything is going to be done because of the negative publicity that is going on these town hall meetings.
The Obama administration has to step up and see that health care legislation passes without domination by right wing scare tactics. If there is legitimate doubt these topics need to be addressed.
Racist, anti-Obama actions by the wing-nuts.
The Republicans can’t admit they did nothing about health care for 8 years. All they can do is complain while Democrats put up a plan and hope the voters forget who was in power in all 3 branches after the Clinton plan was defeated.
I believe CHANGE in and of itself has been a long time coming . . . it’s needed in so many areas and because it may not be as expeditious as some want it to be or those who feel priorities are messed up, I say give the administration time to make things work. This country’s problems didn’t happen in 8 months and they can’t be FIXED in 8 months.
Fixing problems takes a lot longer than creating them or ignoring them. Now that the real work has begun people have lost their enthusiasm for it and are being duped by the misinformation-mongers.
I think the Democrats are trying to get the health care reform message out in spite of all of the disinformation circulating. The Republicans know how effective lying can be from doing it for 8 years.
Economy is starting to turn around – have respect for White House and Cabinet now.
I think the President has tried to do what is best for this country. He was left with a terrible mess by the last Administration. We need Health Care Reform.
Our thanks to the thousands of readers who participated in this survey and a special thanks to those who took the time to send in their written comments in further explanation of the opinions they expressed in the survey.