Obama's 'New' Strategy on Health Care
By Ben Pershing
Before this year's health-care debate began, President Obama made an important decision about what he didn't want -- Hillarycare, The Sequel.
Aside from pursuing a fundamentally different reform plan than the one Hillary Clinton unveiled during her husband's first term, Obama also wanted a different strategy. Rather than dictate to Congress exactly what he desired, the president instead decided to sketch the broad outlines of his plan and let the House and Senate work out the details. And so we were treated to stories about how this administration, unlike Clinton's, really knew how to handle Congress, how its upper echelons were packed with Capitol Hill veterans and Rahm Emanuel practically kept a toothbrush and change of clothes in Harry Reid's and Nancy Pelosi's offices.
Then a funny thing happened -- the strategy didn't work. Or rather, it hasn't worked yet. And as polls showed public support dropping for Obama's proposals (the ones he hasn't really made) and members of Congress got pummeled at town hall meetings over August recess, critics began calling for Obama to do something a bit more like what Clinton did: Tell Congress exactly what he wanted. Now, we learn from multiple reports -- all of them notably thin on details -- Obama is considering doing just that. The Associated Press writes that Obama "is weighing a shift in strategy that would offer more details of his goals for overhauling the nation's health care system." Politico reports that administration aides "are putting the final touches on a new strategy" that may involve a major speech on health care "as soon as next week."
Posted at 10:00 AM ET on Sep 2, 2009
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