A crucial week for Afghanistan, health reform
By Ben Pershing
This week marks a turning point for the two thorniest issues of Barack Obama's young presidency, as the Senate begins debate on its health-care bill and Obama announces his decision on the way forward in Afghanistan.
How Obama "manages those two challenges will provide the biggest trial yet of his ability to use the mandate he claimed more than a year ago to bring about substantial change in a political system that often conspires against it," the New York Times reports, noting that he "is heading into this pivotal moment with his job-approval ratings down and much of his initial shine tarnished by months of political combat." The Wall Street Journal takes a similar tack, writing that "a cascade of events this week ... is challenging the Obama White House's strategy of launching so many initiatives so fast in its first year," adding a mention of Thursday's "jobs summit." Walter Shapiro says "the week's calendar of challenges should make us all ponder why anyone without an intense masochistic streak -- man or woman, Democrat or Republican -- would willingly take on the no-good-options-anywhere challenges of the 21st century presidency."
As debate begins Monday, "the all-hands-on-deck Democratic coalition that allowed the health care reform legislation to advance is coming apart," the Associated Press writes. "The debate is expected to last at least several weeks. Democrats would like to pass a bill by Christmas, but have yet to find a formula that can win 60 votes," according to the Wall Street Journal. With so many amendments expected, Jonathan Cohn writes, "it's hard to imagine opponents of reform stopping a bill from passing, [but] it's not at all hard to imagine the opponents of reform drastically altering the bill before it goes forward."
November 30, 2009; 8:30 AM ET
Categories: The Rundown
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