Health Care Fight Marks the Start of 2010 Campaign
By Ben Pershing
The 2010 campaign began in earnest Monday, and with it the fight for the fate of President Obama's first term.
Republicans had nibbled at the edges of Obama's popularity before, testing for weakness by voting against the stimulus bill, mocking his efforts to change America's image abroad and peddling the argument that a campaign based on change had instead brought forth more of the same. But those small skirmishes were only prelude, as the GOP mounted a full-fledged assault on Obama's signature initiative -- health care -- on the six-month anniversary of his inauguration. At the same time, the president is heeding the wishes of fellow Democrats by engaging personally in the debate and mounting a series of events this week to highlight the need for action. This argument will shape the narrative of the midterm election, which could well hinge as much on Obama's ability to deliver his promised reforms as it will on the state of the economy.
Violent metaphors abound this morning. Jim DeMint started things off last week by saying that a defeat on health care would be Obama's "Waterloo." (Mixing wars, DeMint also said "this health care issue Is D-Day for freedom in America.") The Los Angeles Times reports Michael Steele "escalated" his "assault" Monday as Republicans are "smelling blood." It's a "political street fight," Politico declares. William Kristol drew attention by advising Republicans: "Go for the kill." John Boehner urged that Democrats be "torn apart by wild dogs and left to rot." Okay, he didn't. But would you have been surprised if he had?
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