- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
Analysis: Obama tries many tacks to make health bill stick
Question of the Day
President Obama on Wednesday evening sought to heed the lessons of health care battles past and present: Don’t show up on Capitol Hill with detailed legislation like Bill Clinton. Don’t stay on the legislative sidelines, as Mr. Obama has for the last six months. And don’t mandate a solution like the public option, which Americans showed up in droves to protest in August.
Instead, Mr. Obama traveled to the Hill offering a skeptical nation and a feuding Congress an overarching blueprint for a health care reform. The speech included ideas aimed at liberal Democrats, moderates in both parties and even conservative Republicans, who were caught off guard by the president’s pledge to launch a pilot program aimed at curbing medical malpractice lawsuits.
“It’s a plan that incorporates ideas from senators and congressmen, from Democrats and Republicans - and yes, from some of my opponents in both the primary and general election,” he said. “And I will continue to seek common ground in the weeks ahead. If you come to me with a serious set of proposals, I will be there to listen.”
The true measure of whether the young president succeeded at his high-risk mission will be whether he can build a bipartisan coalition among diverse constituencies and pass a bill through Congress that has eluded presidents and Congress for decades before him.
The size of the challenge and the complexity of partisan divide were on display in the prime-time setting: a Republican lawmaker yelled out, “You lie,” in the middle of Mr. Obama’s speech and Democrats responded with boos.
The critical move in the bid to find supporters from all corners came with the president’s discussion of the taxpayer-financed “public” insurance option. Even within his own party, the proposal has created a gulf.
• Obama prods Congress to pass health bill
• GOP lawmaker’s heckling draws fire
• GOP: Our health plans ignored
• Obama seeks clarity, but doubts go on
• CURL: Obama’s cry aimed at Dems
• Public option not only hurdle
• Obama invokes Kennedy’s letter, delivered after death
Some, like Rep. Anthony Weiner, New York Democrat, have insisted that they cannot vote for a bill without the public option. Others, like Rep. Mike Ross, Arkansas Democrat and a leader of the conservative Blue Dogs caucus, say they cannot stomach a bill that includes the public option.
Mr. Obama said his fellow Democrats should be able to live with more modest goals, such as invoking the public option only in markets where insurance companies are not providing affordable policies or placing the burden of competition on a co-op or another nonprofit entity.
“To my progressive friends, I would remind you that for decades, the driving idea behind reform has been to end insurance company abuses and make coverage affordable for those without it,” Mr. Obama said. “The public option is only a means to that end.”
• RELATED AP VIDEO: Click here.
Though it never explicitly stated, Mr. Obama’s speech had one overarching message: In order to change the dynamics of his health care battle, he needs to learn from past mistakes, including those of his own making. The president conceded as much during a revealing interview Wednesday morning.
“I, out of an effort to let Congress do their thing and not step on their toes, probably left too much ambiguity out there which allowed opponents of reform to come in and fill up the airwaves with a lot of nonsense,” the president said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Despite the conciliatory tone, Mr. Obama clearly acknowledged he was stung by the ferocity of the opposition, and vowed to be more aggressive in fighting back.
Though he didn’t assign blame directly, Mr. Obama asserted that his opponents have engaged in “the same partisan spectacle that only hardens the disdain many Americans have toward their own government.” He accused some of his opponents of being “opportunists” trying to “score short-term political points, even if it robs the country of our opportunity to solve a long-term challenge.”
About the Author
By Michael P. Orsi
Edward Snowden should declare his patriotism in court
- Citing 'unfair system,' Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- OBAMASCARE: Huge premium hikes rock employer-insured workers
- UHLER and FERRARA: Obamacare, the end of the progressive era
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Southern Fried Politics from the Lens of a Persian-American Millennial
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Paul Rondeau exposes the propaganda, media tricks, and government policies that undermine our families, faith, freedom…and even life itself
Implement these actionable tips, how-to’s and best practices in 10 minutes or less to leverage online communications and technology for brand, business and career development.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow