January 23rd, 2010at 07:39pm Posted by Eli
So let me get this straight – after his brilliant float-above-the-fray strategy resulted in a hideously compromised Senate healthcare reform bill which Americans hate so much that it cost the Democrats a Senate seat in Massachusetts, Obama’s Cunning Plan to fix the healthcare reform mess is… to float above the fray some more?
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is engaged with House progressives, trying to tease out a solution to the health care reform impasse–but he says that at the highest levels of the Senate and the White House, there’s still no plan, and he doubts whether President Obama will insert himself forcefully into the process.
Brown, who traveled with Obama today in Ohio, tells me “I’ve talked to Reid, I’ve talked to Obama. Unclear yet what the strategy is, but clear interest, strong interest in getting as strong a bill as we can get.”
[H]e doesn’t imagine the President will lay out a way forward in his State of the Union address next week, and he won’t push any buttons in the Senate.
“I doubt if he does, I don’t think he’ll do a procedural thing. I don’t think he will engage in process,” Brown said of State of the Union.
Traveling with Obama today, he and House members from Ohio aired suggestions and opinions about how to get the Senate back into the game–but Obama’s not on the same page. “Everybody had opinions about what the President should do [vis-a-vis the Senate and particular senators],” Brown told me. “But he ain’t bitin’.”
I guess Obama will come out with a forceful statement about how he’s totally rooting for Congress to fix the healthcare bill somehow, and then just sit back and wait for the magic to happen.
Seriously, someone Obama actually listens to needs to get in his ear and tell him that he needs to do everything he can, both publicly and privately, to push the Senate Democrats to pass a strong “sidecar” fix (must restore public option and eliminate excise tax) through budget reconciliation, and push the House Blue Dogs to vote for both the current Senate bill and the sidecar bill.
True, it might still get done without Obama’s help, but does he really want to bet his presidency on it?