The story is not about how many cheers the President should get or about a populist makeover. The measures the President advocates are merely part of a total package that had to include exactly what has already taken place. When history is written, Obama will prove to have been largely correct not only in substance but in timing. The commentary on his Presidency has not proceeded on this premise and has therefore had more the character of fish wrapping than sage analysis, whether from left or right
There are few persons I have more respect for than Robert Reich. I would say his word is gold. I trust his insight and his sincerity in the current effort.
But I believe there is a different narrative that trumps his conclusion. Grassley and company are not going to cave into a progressive version of reform. But neither is President Obama caving in to the constrictions of a Grassley and Company.
Come fall Barack Obama will declare himself in a simple and final way and he will by then have figured out how he can get the most from a Congress made up of individuals who have been free for several months to control the “debate”.
Barack Obama has deferred to this process, willing to absorb the slings and the arrows of media and commentariat obtuseness. At the end it will be he and not them who ascends the rostrum in the great hall where State of the Union messages are delivered. He will lay down the irreducible elements of what he wants.
We have no idea how this will play out. But the fixed conclusions of the commentariat are dross and fish-wrapping if they do not perceive what the President has actually been doing. They become part of what he will cite as game playing to the vast majority that will ultimately follow his lead on health care reform. And indeed on his agenda.
How Pharma and Insurance Intend to Kill the Public Option, And What Obama and the Rest of Us Must Do
This is it, folks. The concrete is being mixed and about to be poured. And after it’s poured and hardens, universal health care will be with us for years to come in whatever form it now takes. Let your representative and senators know you want a public option without conditions or triggers — one that gives the public insurer bargaining leverage over drug companies, and pushes insurers to do what they’ve promised to do. Don’t wait until the concrete hardens and we’ve lost this battle.