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View Full Version : How Obama Stumbled on Health Care



patriot45
07-24-2009, 11:13 AM
The bumbling (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203517304574306323185061360.html) never stops!





Here’s the dirty secret behind Washington’s health-care “fight”: Democrats won everything in last year’s election.

You wouldn’t know it from the way President Barack Obama is blaming the GOP for his flagging health agenda. “There are those [read the GOP] who are advocating delay just as a desperation move to try to kill it,” complained White House budget director Peter Orszag. Republicans are working to “block health-care reform,” groused the president. “Republicans should immediately put an end to their political games,” demanded Democratic Rep. Chris van Hollen.

Indeed. The party of the left owns the White House, a filibuster-proof Senate, and a 70-seat House majority. As one House Republican aide quipped: “We could have every GOP congressman and their parents vote against a Democratic bill, and still not stop it.” All Democrats have to do is agree on something.

That they can’t is testimony to Team Obama’s mismanagement of its first big legislative project. The president is a skilled politician and orator, but the real test of a new administration is whether it can shepherd a high-stakes bill through Congress. In retrospect, the mistakes are growing clear.


Associated Press
.• Living in the short term: The administration thought it was clever back in February, using its $787 billion “stimulus” as an excuse to pass all manner of non-stimulating spending. But the bill sent deficits soaring, forcing those numbers to the center of today’s health debate and unnerving Democratic deficit hawks. Mr. Obama’s demand that a bill be deficit-neutral enthused House liberals to propose crushing tax hikes that further alienated conservative Democrats.

Mr. Obama boxed himself in on taxes back in his campaign. Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus and counterpart Chuck Grassley were merrily on their way to a bipartisan deal based on taxing existing health benefits. Yet having slammed John McCain for that idea, the White House vetoed the compromise, derailing an agreement. “The President is not helping us,” bluntly stated Mr. Baucus. “He does not want [that tax]. That’s making it difficult.”

• Unleashing Congress: Not wanting to repeat Hillary Clinton’s mistaken attempt to micromanage Congress, the administration took the equally dangerous path of no management at all. Left to wild impulses, Nancy Pelosi, Henry Waxman and Ted Kennedy took the most radical of Mr. Obama’s proposals (a public option entitlement) as a starting point, and ran left with new mandates, income tax surcharges, and business penalties. The House bill stirred a Blue Dog rebellion and mired the bill in committee. Mrs. Pelosi failed to include enticements for susceptible Republicans, leaving her hard-pressed to poach GOP votes.