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Obama to Cram Health Care   September 2nd, 2009
Looks like he wants his health care reform even though American people don't       

 
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In what I think is a stunning turn of events, it looks like President Obama is prepared to ignore the will of the American people and to ram through a mish-mash of Democratic health care proposals without Republican support... and possibly use the "nuclear option" in the Senate to ram it through without even solid Democratic support.

President Obama will try to invigorate the push for health care reform during an address to a joint session of Congress next Wednesday, FOX News has learned.

The decision comes as the White House is revamping its approach, following a rocky August recess. Advisers said earlier that the president will try to reframe the debate by rallying Democrats around the partisan bills that have already advanced. In doing so, Obama appears to be abandoning hopes for a bipartisan breakthrough on health care reform.


I'm not surprised that Obama is giving up hope for a bipartisan bill. That's been his standard practice with everything this administration has done so far. And, to be honest, I don't have a problem with that. I hope that when we have a conservative president that he won't compromise on conservative principles when he doesn't have to.

However, what's impressive here is the potential implication that not only will he continue on without Republican support, he may essentially be committing himself to a course of action that requires continuing on without even solid Democratic support.

The general understanding right now is that a "public option" will not overcome a filibuster in the Senate--especially now that Democrats don't have 60 votes with Senator Kennedy's passing. Even with Kennedy's vote there was an understanding that a public option simply didn't have the votes in the Senate.

So if the above report is correct, and Obama is preparing to continue on with a public option without Republican support, that would also imply that he's considering "going nuclear in the Senate" and using "reconciliation" to pass the bill through the Senate with a simple majority.

If the president does this, he'll be passing a major piece of legislation that effects every citizen of this country and impacts approximately 1/6th of the nation's economy... and he'll be doing it over the opposition of Republicans and even over the opposition of some of those in his own party, to say nothing of the majority of Americans that don't want what he and the Congress are currently proposing.

He'll also be known as one of the most politically combative and partisan presidents in modern history, and he'll set up tense environment in the Senate that will almost certainly slow any future legislative business to a standstill for the rest of this session of Congress, and may have a far-reaching impact on Senate traditions going forward.

All for something Americans don't want, and want less each day.

Or I guess Obama could surprise us all in his address to Congress and propose broad, market-based reforms.

But based on the first six months of this presidency, I'm not betting on it. Instead, I'm expecting a lot more partisan politics, accusations, name-calling and villainization of his opponents, and blaming Republicans for the current state of affairs even though Republicans simply cannot stop this if Obama and the Democrats are willing to go nuclear.

If this is what actually happens then I must say it's bad policy and bad politics and I think it will hurt him and Democrats in the future. But I'll have to give him points for a gutsy move. The stakes will be high: he'll literally be betting his presidency, and possibly the 2010 midterm elections, on this.


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