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.
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