Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The State of the Union--The President Came to a Fork in the Road and He Took It

As Yogi Berra said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

The President came to a fork in the road tonight on health care reform. Would he do what many liberals have demanded--push harder to pass the Democratic health care bills? Or, do as many moderate Dems and some Republicans have called for--work to get a smaller but bipartisan health care bill?

Listening to his speech he seems to be taking both forks.

Continue pushing the Democratic plans: "As temperatures cool, I want everyone to take another look at the plan we’ve proposed. There’s a reason why many doctors, nurses, and health care experts who know our system best consider this approach a vast improvement over the status quo."

Looking for a bipartisan approach: "But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know. Here’s what I ask of Congress, though: Do not walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close. Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people."

The President came to that fork in the road tonight and instead of giving the Congress a clear sense of where he was willing to put his remaining political capital he just took it.

Is he willing to put his Congressional majorities on the line in an election year to keep pushing for the now unpopular health care bills? Or, is he willing to put his political capital on the line in an effort to pull the far left in his own party to the center and call the Republicans out on their offer of bipartisanship in order to produce a modest bill?

In the wake of the President's State of the Union Address, we have no better idea just where he wants to lead his party, the entire Congress, or the country on health care reform.
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