jeudi 20 août 2009

Obama: "I continue to support a public option"

OK, he said it. President Obama said that he continues to support a public option as a part of a health care/insurance reform that also focuses on insurance reform.

If that is the case, then Howard Dean can't really be a thorn in the side of the White House as Phillip Rucker suggests in his article "Dean challenges Obama to deliver reform" in today's Washington Post. He'd theoretically be on the same side as the President. Perhaps holding his feet closer to the fire to keep him honest, but not really a thorn. After all, Dean is out there in public, rallying the progessives, a role that Rahm can't take on.

But why not keep the staff on message? Why the apparant miscues from the White House this week? Sibelius, Gibbs and Emanuel all apprently failing to grasp the President's position on health care/insurance reform?

The President brought it up himself, more or less attributing it to the way things go, but you have to ask if things have been so clear in the White House, or if it somehow works best to keep it hard to nail down in the general public, while you stand on the sidelines, hold a town hall or two under controlled conditions and then lay it all straight with your supporters in an Organizing for America Health Care Forum.

Wouldn't it be a lot easier to make those same arguments directly to the undecided? To those genuinely interested in getting answers to the questions they have? You have the world's greatest bully pulpit to talk to the people directly, but your best material, in this case, is offered to your supporters to take out to their neighbors and the shoppers at the mall who stop by the OFA Obama health care reform tables.

I would say that unless you have a tremendously complex and sophisticated strategy that you cannot possibly unveil at the peril of a public option -- the real thorn in someone's side -- that it would be better to go directly to the nation, to the media and to us at the same time. You know, only your most loyal supporters are on to watch your health care forum.

Just don't let us find out that we were strung along and punked. Don't let us find out why the questions about deals with Pharma weren't included in the OFA Health Care Forum because the deal was you told us you are still for a public option, so in exchange we don't ask about deals with the lobbyists. Don't let us find out that you weren't straight with us, when you gave every appearance of talking straight, because it's an inside the Beltway thing, and we'd just mess things up.

My question for you tonight would have been, "What, Mr. President, did you tell Rahm Emanuel when you leanred he told we progressives who voted for you to 'shut up'?"
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