Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Undefeated Never Looked So Bad

The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that the Obama administration is considering changing its tactics to try to increase support for what is still laughably being referred to as "health care reform." From the WSJ:

"President Barack Obama, trying to regain control of the health-care debate, will likely shift his pitch in September, White House and Democratic officials said, as he faces pressure from supporters to talk more about the moral imperative to provide health insurance to all Americans.

The rethinking comes amid a struggle by the White House to clarify its view on a public insurance plan, which liberals see as a critical part of a health overhaul."[emphasis mine.]

To whatever extent one believes that this tactic--ie, appealing to the conscience of the country--will work, we must remember that it is only that, a tactic. We can't know how Obama personally feels about health care reform, but we do know that until at least 2005 he supported a single-payer system, and now he's considering signing a bill that doesn't have a public option. More than anything else, this shows that Obama simply wants to pass something. The administration wants a win, or, rather, they want something that doesn't look like a horrible loss. They need to be able to walk away from this and say "we did it better than Clinton."

One needs no more evidence of how desperate they are for a win, in precisely those terms, than this, from Greg Sarget's blog:

"The Politico’s Jonathan Martin reported this morning that Rahm Emanuel warned leaders of liberal groups in a private meeting this week that it was time to stop running ads attacking Blue Dog and “centrist” Dems on health care.

I’m told, however, that Emanuel went quite a bit further than this.

Sources at the meeting tell me that Emanuel really teed off on the Dem-versus-Dem attacks, calling them “f–king stupid.” This was a direct attack on some of the attendees in the room, who are running ads against Dems right now.

Tellingly, Rahm raised the specter of a loss on health care, sources at the meeting say — which suggests that the White House may be less certain about victory than officials allow publicly.

“He started out with, `We’re 13 and 0 going into health care,’” one source at the meeting said, meaning that Rahm was touting the White House’s string of pre-health care legislative victories."

Others have said all that needs to be said about this repulsive philosophy, so I'll just say instead that, yes, here is how our political elites function. They want a win. If Obama changes tactics and is able to reinvigorate the public option by doing so, that is obviously something to be celebrated. But it's worth remembering that in this debate, the White House wants to get something, anything, passed. As a result, what we may end up getting is a bill that nobody actually believes in, but a few people can tepidly support.

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