Thursday, September 10, 2009

Game On

Some loonie congressman shouts at the President, essentially calling him a liar, and so soaks up the video on cable and the attention on the blogosphere. But long after Joe Wilson is a trick trivia question, President Obama's speech is likely to be remembered.

In limited checking of TV etc, I've heard views on it as his greatest speech, his most emotional speech, the greatest speech a President has given to a joint session, etc., including from some unlikely suspects, like David Brooks. E. J. Dionne liked its detail and fighting spirit. Mike Lux wrote: "I have been listening closely to Presidential speeches for about 35 years now, have watched quite a few oldies but goodies from the past, have even contributed ideas to a fair share of speeches in the Clinton years, and I am sitting here thinking that was one of the very best Presidential speeches I have ever heard. JFK's inaugural and a couple of FDR's best are the only ones I can think of that moved me so much."

These and other similar responses suggest it's immediate effect already is to galvanize the wavering Obama people, but it also gave some moderate Democrats and at least one moderate Republican the room they need to support reform ( Sen.Olympia Snow praised it and Sen. Ben Nelson called it a gamechanger), while providing both common philosophical ground and a call to arms. For a speech so laden with arguments for relatively specific proposals, it was a masterpiece.

Here's a link to text and video, or you can wander over to Dreaming Up Daily for extended excerpts.

The next few days will be crucial, but I think it will make a difference. And the stronger Obama is, the more likely a public option will survive--although I'm guessing that 4 year window is where the maneuvering is going to be. Something like a reverse trigger: the public option takes effect in four years, unless private insurers are following the new law and are offering competitive prices. Anyway, it's on.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Barack is back! From President Obama's Labor Day speech in Ohio, where the rubber meets the road on health care.

The Nonsense of August

Two days before President Obama's address to Congress signals the final push for a health care reform, the Political Wire says this:

As everyone gets back to work on Capitol Hill, it's increasingly clear that President Obama survived a brutal August and that even under a worst case scenario he'll be able to sign a meaningful health care reform bill.

Marc Ambinder : "After August, conservatives have exhausted their repertoire of arguments and many of their demagogic tricks. Public support for significant health care reform as something worth doing remains high. Support for Obama's plan remains unchanged -- didn't grow, certainly, but didn't decline. Support among Democrats remains at 90%. Obama's message tomorrow night will be one that dovetails with what the American people believe: it's important to get health care reform done."

Jonathan Chait: "Despite all of the setbacks and all of the missed opportunities -- despite this train wreck of a month -- the situation remains remarkably similar to what it was before the recess. Significant health care legislation is likely to pass, particularly if Obama manages to give a good speech on Wednesday night. And while the possibilities for what that legislation might accomplish have certainly diminished, mostly for worse, it's not clear how much they have diminished -- and to what extent progressives may yet have the power to change that fact."Most important, Democrats are coming to realize that failing to pass a bill when they control the House and Senate would be political suicide -- just like it was during the 1990s.