Weariness and Desperation in Health Care Debate

By Roger Aronoff | August 19, 2009

Welcome to Waterloo. Not enough votes for a public option, not enough votes without a public option.

The health care debate has descended into a fiasco, draining President Obama of his high approval ratings, angering his base, polarizing the country, damaging his credibility, along with that of the Democratic-led Congress. South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint's characterization of this turning out to be Obama's Waterloo is looking more and more prescient. Obama's push for health care reform is on life support, along with a cap-and-trade bill unlikely to pass in the Senate, and a deal between Israel and the Palestinians that seems farther away from reality than even in recent years. And despite Obama's attempt to change their behavior by treating them differently, there is no indication that Iran or N. Korea has any intentions of giving up their nuclear weapons programs, nor Iran's support for terrorist organizations to recede.

President Obama and his pals in the media are growing ever more desperate. The MSNBC line-up is doing its best to discredit the opposition to the Democrats' ideas for health care reform, but even they may have their limits to their obsequiousness to Obama. Clearly congressional members of his own party are tiring of playing along with the idea that Obama has delivered a consistent message. They have grown weary of trying to keep up with Obama's shifting policy standards, while claiming they haven't shifted at all.

On June 15 he told the American Medical Association (AMA) that "This gives you some new options. And I believe one of these options needs to be the public option." Then in July he said: "That's why any plan I sign must include an insurance exchange-a one-stop shopping marketplace where you can compare the benefits, costs and track records of a variety of plans, including a public option to increase competition and keep insurance companies honest, and choose what's best for your family."

This past weekend: "The public option, whether we have or we don't have it is not the entirety of health care reform. This is just one sliver of it. One aspect of it."

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