Reform Effort Puts Obama Back on the Trail
By Ben Pershing
President Obama's poll numbers have been dropping almost since the day he took office. So as he works to sell his signature initiative, Obama plans a brief return to the place where he has achieved the most success -- the campaign trail.
Obama "will take the baton" on health care this week, according to the Washington Post, planning "an aggressive public and private schedule" of events to promote reform, including a roundtable discussion in Washington today, Wednesday's prime-time press conference and a trip to Cleveland to pitch reform. Of course, Obama won't be selling a specific plan -- he doesn't have one -- so instead his message will be focused on the urgency of the issue and the importance of a few general principles. Organizing for America, Obama's former campaign operation, will be holding events in all 50 states for this "health care reform week of action." The effort comes, the Wall Street Journal writes, as Democrats "are facing new resistance on Capitol Hill to rapid movement on health-care legislation amid concerns about the cost, the political price for raising taxes -- and even an emerging dispute about whether abortions should be covered."
Mickey Kaus asks, "When was the last time a president's campaign-style attempt to sell a policy has actually succeeded in selling the policy?" George W. Bush did a reasonably good job convincing the public that Social Security needed fixing, but was never able to sell a plan to fix it. Ditto on immigration. And while Obama has yet to endorse a specific health-care fix, do Republicans need to settle on a coherent reform plan of their own? No, Kaus argues , since the GOP can simply say to Democrats: "The status quo would be better than your plans. Vote no."
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