Health care reform has been tossed around since the Truman era and the outcome has been failure after failure because no one has had the political capital like Obama to grab control of the debate and make a true change. If he can't pass some sort of public plan now then if not now when and under which president because Obama has the charm to sell this better than any president yet? If Obama can't do it then I fear we will have missed the window for another generation or so. I like many voted for him in large part because I believed that he was willing and able to fundamentally change health care. Yet now that he's in office he's wimped out on us to be blunt. It seems that Obama was ready to sell out the popular desire for a system similar to the successful ones in nearly every industrialized country from day one.
"The president has told visitors that he would rather have 70 votes in the Senate for a bill that gives him 85% of what he wants than a 100 perfect satisfactory bill that passes 52-48." Obama seems to know nothing about the art of trading and bartering--you don't give away your final position before even starting!! This is a statement that clearly says to Republicans desperate for an issue that our leader won't fight very hard to fundamentally change health care.
It tells the right who are unwilling to even consider a public option let alone compromise despite them being in a less powerful position that they can get leverage over this president if they complain enough. And the problem with Obama is he is too afraid of offending the other party in order to pass a health care plan for a new century, which all countries at our level passed decades ago!! The Democrats won the election and that means we set the agenda in Congress but Obama is acting like he doesn't have a solid majority in Congress.
As I said, I'm all for compromise on many issues but on some issues you have to stand up for your campaign promises and plans on issues that are essential to the platform of the political party you won with. Health care is one of those big issues and not just for Democrats. There are many Independents and even Republicans who want a public option to allow greater competition and choice. Yet Obama acts like he's the minority leader of a minority party in Congress. Some people say well he can't push too hard or he'll alienate Republicans, which could hurt his re-election campaign.
Well, for one the number of people who identify as Republican is down in the 20s and two, passing a historic health care reform bill would most likely single handed ensure his re-election. But besides, perhaps the most important point is that a president should be more concerned with making sweeping changes for a country desperate for them than pleasing all sides and angering all in the process. He should stake his presidency on health care and if he has to lose a second term but get a fundamentally changed health care plan passed then one term is good enough to solidify his legacy as a historic president. He should care more about pleasing, improving and otherwise helping the American people for generations to come than worry about pissing off one of the weakness manifestations of the Republican party in generations.
Nothing worthwhile comes easy as our parents use to tell us and if Obama thinks he can get a bill that pleases all sides then he is dangerously naive. Sometimes you just have to run the risk of looking like an bully if it means pissing off some Washington Republican elites to better the entire country. I sometimes worry that Obama is more concerned about being liked by everyone that public policy suffers for it. He needs to get tougher on these major issues and stake out a solid position that brokers real change as he promised in the campaign because without a public option any health care bill is failure. It will mean another health care reform bill killed by watering it down to meaninglessness.