by Janet Crain
Well, I'd like to think the message was DOD. Too much hubris, too much over confidence, too much taking the great unwashed electorate for granted.
No one expected the turnout at Town Hall meetings. It was messy, inconvenient, some even called it un-American. But it was democracy in action and it reminded many of what this country was and is all about. You can take all the lobbyists and Union bosses, all the late night bull sessions by the old pols, take the lock step liberated liberals who march to exactly the same tune, and all the ink and all the electron bits and bites and megabits and throw them in the ocean. The people wouldn't miss them. The people can govern themselves.
It's almost Labor Day. Healthcare reform is struggling, the public option is near dead. Why couldn't Obama deliver?
By Thomas Schaller
Aug. 24, 2009 | Barring a major public groundswell or miraculous reversal in Congress, Barack Obama's healthcare reform package will not include the provision that matters most to the Democratic base, the so-called public option. Why has a president who entered the White House with the second-biggest winning margin of any Democratic president since the New Deal, and who is blessed with solid Capitol Hill majorities in both chambers of Congress, struggled to save this key agenda item?
Was the White House's public relations rollout insufficient to counter the stronger-than-anticipated resistance from healthcare opponents? Was the public option always just a bargaining chip to give away in exchange for what the president really wants? What happened to the vaunted Obama campaign apparatus, which was supposed to morph into a machine delivering support for Obama's agenda? Did Obama simply lack the political will or political capital? Or should he have been less of a consensus seeker and more of a Rove-ian steamroller?
Maybe there's some truth to all those scenarios. Call it the public option's "imperfect storm." Yet the policy stumble by a president who demonstrated so much political skill over the past two years merits further inquiry into what went wrong, and why. Here are four possible explanations:
© Janet Crain
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