- The Washington Times - Friday, September 18, 2009


If health care reform were a high-stakes political card game, President Obama would be sitting at the Capitol Hill poker table holding a pair of twos (“The pressure to cut a deal,” Opinion, Sept. 9). But with stacks of political chips on the table, congressional Democrats and Republicans also have a lot to win — or lose — as the acrimonious summer-long debate over health care nears its final hand.

Congress returned from its August recess to a dramatically changed political landscape. Mr. Obama’s job-approval ratings are dipping to the uncomfortable 50 percent mark. Support for Democratic health reform efforts has dropped, too, after a summer of contentious town-hall meetings and sustained Republican attacks.

So, how will things play out in the coming weeks? The most likely scenario is a scaled-back compromise winning passage. It’s the way things work in Washington. In this scenario, the White House would forge ahead to a showdown vote, only to lose because of liberal or conservative defectors. At that point, the fear of failure would prompt Democratic dissidents to compromise.



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