Juan Williams is wrong, thrice

Most important, Williams is incorrect when he describes "Democrats who just want to leave Medicare as it is." Most Democrats would support what we believe are appropriate changes to Medicare. Some of us would support means-testing part of Medicare (which Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has spoken of).

Others support various ways of lowering costs via payments to providers. It is factually wrong and unfair to tarnish Democrats with wanting to "leave Medicare as it is."

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There is more. Williams goes on to suggest that the president's poll numbers are down because voters side with Republicans who criticize Obama. If you look at the last two weeks of the Gallup tracking poll, Obama lost ground in direct proportion to and with exact timing of his outreach to Republicans; i.e. the more he reached out to Republicans, the more ground he lost.

Obviously different voters moved to less approval for different reasons. Some did so because they did NOT want Obama to moved toward Republican budget policies and not because they want Obama to do more agreeing with Republicans.

Williams's view is far too simplistic and his aim is partly off. Similarly, The Hill's poll done by Pulse Opinion Research could have asked different questions and elicited a different perspective.

Rather than dissect any particular poll, lets focus on what I consider the key points.

Consider the totality of all polling about whether voters want to cut Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid. In most polls that I have seen, the number of voters who oppose these cuts is significantly greater than the voters who support them. In other words, in public opinion Democrats have the high ground with voters on Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid cuts.

This is why I disagree with the implication in Williams's column, on many Fox News shows and from Joe Scarborough on” Morning Joe” when they equate "the far left with the far right."

On those positions attributed to liberals on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, more voters generally agree with liberals and Democrats than conservatives and Republicans. The views that Scarborough and others often label "extremist of the left" are often the majority views of Americans.

When Williams appears to equate the left and right, I flat-out disagree with that implication. Let me be clear. None of this speaks to good or bad policy. It may be in the interest of good policy to do unpopular things. And good policy may permit politically acceptable moves such as means-testing Medicare or saving money on certain payments to providers.

When Williams attacks Democrats who allegedly want to keep Medicare as it is, he is attacking a straw man, a tactic not surprising for Republicans that is distasteful to most Democrats when coming from a Democrat.

What most Democrats do not want to do is hurt beneficiaries of programs who are already hurting when there are ways to lower the deficit that do not hurt them.

Finally, regarding ObamaCare, there are many who poll negative on ObamaCare because they believe it is not progressive enough, not because it is too progressive.

Perhaps future polling about repealing ObamaCare might include questions about enacting a public option, which has historically had majority support from Democrats, Republicans and independents.