A year after President Obama made health care reform his top domestic priority and less than a week after a summit meeting to debate the initiative with emboldened Republican and restless Democratic legislators, the President has stated that the time to act is now. Experts expect some modest changes designed to acquiesce to the opposition party while not alienating a reluctant Democratic base. He will be appearing shortly at the White House and it will be interesting to see what kind of public reaction his comments and proposal receive.
The past week’s events and comments coming from Washington suggest that this President does not mind staking his reputation and perhaps prospects for re-election on this one issue. That he would willingly feed gasoline into Tea Party fires igniting all round the country either means that: (a) he believes that those happy with a shotgun approach to reform legislation will outnumber (electorally speaking) those who are unhappy or (b) he feels there will be enough time between passage and the November elections for Democrats to recover and even sell the positive aspects of the plan. My suspicion is that Obama the Pragmatist is more in control here than Obama the Idealist and that if the deal is sealed, we’ll see whole scale health reform selling through the rest of 2010.
Republicans are meeting as we speak to deny this President that opportunity.