Conservative commentators insisted on Fox News Sunday that the special election to replace the late Senator Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts will prove Americans don't want health care reform, regardless of who wins.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell began the "health care referendum" messaging in an interview with Brit Hume. "Massachusetts is going to be a very, very close Senate race. Regardless of who wins, we have here in effect a referendum on this national health care bill. The American people are telling us please don't pass it," McConnell explained.
As Raw Story reported Friday, Democrats need 60 votes to move the health care bill forward in the Senate. If Republican Scott Brown wins, he has promised to filibuster the Democrats' bill. Should Democrat Martha Coakley lose, Democrats will likely have to return to the bargaining table with GOP moderates, such as Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).
Following the interview with McConnell early this morning, other Fox News pundits spoke up to agree one by one.
"The voters are well aware that this is a national referendum on the health care bill and on Obama's general big government liberal program," said Bill Kristol.
Kristol cited a Suffolk University statewide survey of 500 Massachusetts registered voters, conducted Jan. 11-13. Though the margin of error is 5 points, Brown leads Coakley 50-46. Two months ago the race looked like it wouldn't even be close. Coakley led by as much as 30 points in previous polls. She is still leading in the latest Rasmussen poll, but now by only 2 points.
Panelist Nina Easton echoed Kristol's sentiment. "I agree with Bill, I do think this is a referendum on the health care bill," she said.
"He's running as the guy who will stop health care. Essentially it's a referendum on health care, it's a referendum on the Obama agenda," agreed Charles Krauthammer.
If Fox News was interested in substantive debate, or even just one guest with a different conclusion, the only preparation necessary would have been a quick glance at the "Pressing Issues" section of the Suffolk poll. "The most important issue facing our next U.S. senator is the economy/jobs, according to 44 percent of voters polled; 38 percent said health care."
Do the math. Only 190 people told pollsters that health care is the most important issue in Massachusetts. What's the matter with real American voters, didn't they get the memo?
This video is from Fox News Sunday, broadcast Jan. 17, 2010.