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