Progressives are becoming more and more disheartened by the lack of progress to pass Universal Health Care by their Democratic leadership in Washington and are starting to vocalize their displeasure. For example, on Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher, guest Bill Moyers said, “too many Democrats have had their spines surgically removed.” Over the last few weeks while Congress has been on recess, several liberal pundits and talk show hosts have shared this “spineless” critique of their elected officials. Meanwhile, the polls have continued to drop against Obama; down to 50%, his lowest ever in the Gallup poll, led by a decrease in August by his largest support demos. With all hell breaking loose at the Capitol, someone needs to step in and guide the Democratic Party. That man? Bob Dole.
In Monday’ s Washington Post, former senator and 1996 Republican Presidential candidate, Bob Dole, authored an opinion piece for President Obama. Dole advised Obama that it was time to take the lead in the health care effort.
Many of us were taught that the president proposes and Congress disposes. Today, Congress is doing both — with the president relegated to the role of cheerleader in chief as he campaigns for various House committees’ efforts. Certainly, Obama supports much in these proposals — but Barack Obama is our president, not a commentator.
Obama might be listening to the criticisms levied against him. It was reported earlier today that he would address the Congress when they reconvene after the Labor Day holiday. If this address is used to reset the debate – to take the reins and create the path to follow – it will be interesting to see which direction they decide to go.
Many staunch liberals are pushing for Obama and the Democratic Congress to stop looking for a bi-partisan solution and to pass a Single Payer or Public Option system alone. This opinion is shared on many liberal websites by bloggers and commentors alike. And lets be honest – they are essentially right. They don’t need full bi-partisan support, they are missing one vote (since Ted Kennedy’s passing). All this posturing by the Democrats blaming Republicans for obstruction and blaming American citizens for the town hall uprisings is nothing more than an excuse to hide the mess within their own party. If there was solidarity within the Democratic Party they could give the Republicans the finger, and move on.
So why don’t they go ahead and pass it with the programs they want? While this might sound like the badass renegade solution, the risk outweighs the rewards. If they did go it alone, that means all the pressure and blame would fall on themselves. That could be political suicide because there is no way they will be able to coordinate anything successful by the 2010 campaign.
Several have brought up that they could pass this bill with only 50 instead of 60 votes through the reconciliation process. Even if they passed it through reconciliation and only needed a majority vote rather than the standard fifty, they would need to pass the bill through the budget, which at the current time would not be successful. The only way they could come close to possibly affording to pass the bill would be through the repel of Bush era tax cuts for all Americans – which would go against Obama’s first campaign promise of not raising taxes on 95% of Americans. Again, another huge black mark that could open the door for Republicans in 2010. As Bob Dole warns the President:
Republicans have different ideas but for the most part are positive about reform if the government has a minimal role. Democrats would eventually regret it if Republicans are forced to take a nearly party-line vote. Obama should get the credit if legislation passes but, more important, get the blame if final legislation draws only a few GOP votes and brings more taxes, more government and more spending. A bipartisan ending will have more credibility with the American people. Indeed, most important legislation in U.S. history has had broad bipartisan support.
Elections do have consequences and the nation elected the Democrats in control. This September will be an interesting month to see how President Obama and the Dems take control of the issue and determine the fate of our nation’s future.