President Obama is the opposite of Hamlet—he is desperately eager to do something on health care reform, right this minute, but he doesn’t particularly have any idea what it should be.
Obama spent most of July insisting that Congress pass a bill for him to sign before they went on August recess, in case they didn’t have enough political momentum for it by the time they got back. Privately, Congressional Democrats fumed that Obama was offering them no details on his preferred plan and was simply telling his spokespeople to assure them that he would not rule anything out that they decided.
Just before the August recess, Obama got on TV for a Wednesday night address to the nation to “explain” the “details” of his “plan.” The public’s reaction to his vague answers to reporters’ questions revealed as much frustration at his lack of specifics as Congress felt.
Since then, Obama has played “good cop, bad cop” with an unwilling Congress: that is, Obama gets to make flowery promises—everyone who’s happy with the status quo can keep things as they are, everyone who’s unhappy can have everything completely different—while Congress is forced to work out the ugly details like who’s going to pay for the plan.
At some point, Obama shifted away from his push for “health care reform” and began hinting that what he really wanted was “health insurance reform.” However, he was too cowardly or indecisive to state his altered intention outright. read more »