Free Markets, Free People

Ezra Klein Awaits Obama’s “Forceful Entry” Into Health Care Debate

As Mickey Kaus points out, Ezra Klein is into some heavy self-delusion if he really believes this to be true:

Since he didn’t forcefully enter the debate, the media reported on his news conferences and town hall meetings as if they were the White House’s failed attempts to set the agenda. Obama’s popularity has fallen and support for “his” bill — a bill that doesn’t exist — has plummeted.

Objectively, the fact that he hasn’t given a speech on health-care reform or defined his own bill or begun to really pressure the Congress means, in practice, that he has a lot left of tools left in his toolbox.

If Obama hasn’t “forcefully entered the [health care] debate” what was that ABC infomercial? What was the purpose of the series of town halls – if he wasn’t “forcefully entering” the debate.

In fact, Obama has been trying to push his health care agenda since he’s been in office.

Kaus reminds us of how involved to this point Obama has been in the topic of health care:

“Our CBS News tally shows that Mr. Obama has given 27 speeches specifically on his health care objectives. Add in other remarks, events and statements in which he mentioned health care and the number soars to 119.”

Those numbers flatly contradict Klein’s conclusion:

What’s not clear is whether he has the political capital left to use them effectively, or whether the last few months saw him robbed of something he hadn’t even had a chance to use.

Never had a chance to use? Hardly. Misspent, misapplied, squandered? More likely – it isn’t that he hasn’t taken the opportunities to “forcefully enter” the health care debate, it’s that he’s been completely ineffective when he has.

That’s why many don’t buy the David Axelrod spin which says, in effect, that has all proceeded as planned and now they’re merely going to “synthesize and harmonize these strands and get this done” with Obama’s upcoming speech.

Klein may believe that Obama is finally “forcefully entering” the debate with the upcoming speech, but I’d bet most Americans will see it as simply more of the same old ineffective nonsense wrapped in a new rhetorically glittering package that they’ve been hearing for months.



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10 Responses to Ezra Klein Awaits Obama’s “Forceful Entry” Into Health Care Debate

  • I think Klein’s position is that if you Obama has been vague up until now, baby, you ain’t seen ambiguity yet!

  • I am glad the President is finally going to be forcefully speaking out on health care reform. We are well overdue to hear from the President on this issue. It has been quite a while since his major health care reform speeches on June 15, July 17, his major health care reform press conference on July 22, his heath care reform town hall meetings in Wisconsin (June 11), at the White House (June 24), North Carolina and Virginia (July 29) , New Hampshire (Aug 11), Montana (August 14), Colorado (August 15) and maybe a few other major speeches and media events that I might have missed.

    This time the President will be telling us what he wants to see in health care reform now, as opposed to what he wanted to see during the campaign, or David Axelrod’s chain-mail of August 13 outlining in detail what the administration expected to see from health care reform then.

    Speaking of which – I am doing my part. I have been diligently forwarding David’s chain-mail to every e-mail address I can find, as he requested me to do.

  • So, in Klien’s book, we have Obama, dressed as Cardinal Ximinez from Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisition…

    NOBODY expects Nationalized Health Care! Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise…. Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to socialist ideology…. Our *four*…no… *Amongst* our weapons…. Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise…. I’ll come in again.

  • This bus is going off a cliff, and Obama just grabbed hold of the steering wheel.

    EPIC FAIL on the way!!!!

  • If I may just go off topic for 1 second here…..Glen Beck wins this one.

    Sorry libs!

  • No one believes Obama because his message is illogical. You can reduce cost, cover 50 million uninsured, keep the level of care we have today – pick any two.

    • The amazing thing is that his upcoming press conference will almost certainly be 90% of the same old rhetoric, if not more. I’d be very surprised if he went ‘off script’ and actually tried something new.

  • I am worried about any bill that contained a Health Insurance Exchange where the government can dictate the contents of all insurance policies. Even without the public option, an HIE would give the president effective control.