Peggy Noonan is the latest commentator to note that Obama’s standing with the public could be greatly improved if he declared a time-out in the health care wars and promised to return with simpler compromise proposal later in his presidency.
I couldn’t agree more, at least as it relates to Obama’s standing with the average American. But I expect that such a strategy would enrage his base. If “this is our moment – this is our time,” a liberal might ask, why must we wait for comprehensive reform? If the fierce urgency of now demands that we remake America (and American health care), such a statement is heresy in Obamaland. If “what is really scary, what is truly risky is if we do nothing” about health care, how can the President say that we need a few more months of doing nothing before we act? In fact, the President said this week that it is immoral for the “wealthiest nation in the world” to neglect giving everyone health insurance. Remember that not long ago, Congress had to pass health reform before the August recess to save the budget, create more jobs, and avoid further economic collapse.
Obama long ago doubled-down on health reform. If he backs off now, he risks undermining both the support of his most-intense supporters and his own premise for the moving the very policy he’s presenting — dramatic, unavoidable, catastrophic urgency.