Obama: Why Give the Big Speech Now?

Obama: Why Give the Big Speech Now?

Obama: Why Give the Big Speech Now?

A mostly political weblog.
Sept. 3 2009 3:11 AM

Obama: Why Give the Big Speech Now?

Cover 40 million? 20 million? Individual mandate? No mandate? Can the White House really be this uncertain about their strategy at this point? They schedule a big speech without having a clear idea of what they are going to say? ... P.S.: At least they aren't giving off an air of semi-desperation by leaking quotes like, "It's so important to get a deal ... He will do almost anything it takes to get one." ... Oh . ....[via RCP ] 1:49 P.M.



1) U.K. Telegraph: Not a death panel but a  death pathway . ...

2) The obvious weak spot in Dick Morris and Eileen McGann's argument that Obama has "no good options" on health care  is this:

If Obama waters down his proposals to attract moderate support, he'd lose votes on the left -- perhaps more than he'd gain, at this point. 

Left-Dems are going to kill a watered-down health bill? I don't believe it. Do you? ...


3)  Still, the best evidence that Obama's health reform might be sliding down the Liverpool Care Pathway is his decision to address a joint session of Congress next week . Obama can give one more of these stunt speeches, maybe, before their effectiveness is radically diminished. Why do it now? Especially when he doesn't seem to have anything new to say . ... And when his last attempts mainly proved that what Politico calls "the most gifted explainer of anyone to occupy the Oval office since Reagan or Roosevelt" (please) was stunningly ineffective as a salesman --especially when it came to reassuring seniors worried about rationing . ... When even if Obama is atypically persuasive the best that will happen, in the ensuing days, is that the bill will get out of a Senate committee, leaving a long slog ahead. ...

It's possible that White House aides are deluded about Obama's persuasive powers. It's possible that they're deluded about the impact of invoking Senator Kennedy's legacy two weeks after his death.

It's also possible that they aren't deluded, and they know that despite all the optimistic stories planted in the MSM, they are in big trouble --that public support has fallen dangerously low. ... The speech itself seems a sign of weakness. ... Update: Implausible but inventive alternate theory .

4) Two new things Obama should do in his speech that he probably won't: a) Offer a strong assurance of no rationing, under some reasonable and simple definition--strong enough assurance that it could be used as a weapon against future attempts at NHS-style cost-cutting. Suggested line: "Every treatment that I, as President, would get, you will be able to get under Medicare." ** b) Answer the demands for hope by describing the world of wondrous medical cures that science will make available under his health plan (rather than implying that scientific progress is kind of annoying because it might cost the government money). ...


P.S.: Gloria Borger says

.. it's curious that the White House allowed the public plan to become such a centerpiece of the debate when it actually isn't.

No it's not curious. Not if the idea has always been that the White House can dramatically  throw it overboard and seem moderate . Duh.. ...


** --A repeat recommendation . Based on a line from Michael Kinsley . ... I can't help but feel that the reason the President doesn't effectively rebut the "rationing" argument is that he kind of believes we have to move toward rationing. But couldn't he fake it? ...  12:38 A.M.