Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Obama has a political crisis on his hands. If Massachusetts voters can choose a GOP stalwart over a liberal, what swing-state Democrat in his right mind is going to vote for partisan health care reform?

But this crisis could be exactly what Obama needed. His health care reform package has been twisted into an unrecognizable perversion. Gutted of any cost-control measures and bloated with pork for Democrats from moderate districts, even Obama must know that this will be a lateral move at best for the country's health care system. He's lost control of the legislative process, and he needs to reboot.

"Scott 41" - the threat of a filibuster - gives him a great excuse to start over. He can say, "America, we heard you. You demanded that reform be basic and fair enough that it can be supported by both parties. We're going back to the drawing board, bringing in Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, and we're going to find a way to improve the country's health care system. It won't accomplish everything I hoped, but I believe there are clear improvements we can all agree on. We'll solve the pre-existing conditions trap and we'll insure more Americans. I welcome Scott Brown to Washington, and I look forward to building a health care reform that is simple, limited, and effective."

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