I never thought I’d write this: President George W. Bush had it right.
When the opposition gave him a difficult time doing something, he’d say, “F— you, we’re doing it anyway.” Think warrantless wiretaps, tax cuts for the wealthy, Iraq.
And if he had the votes in Congress, he’d say, “F— bipartisanship and pleasing the opposition. We’re doing this my way, bitches.”
This is where President Barack Obama is very different from Bush, and why his healthcare reform plans are in trouble.
He’s a pleaser. He’s the type of leader who will always try to find the middle ground. This is actually the reason I voted for him, and the reason I knew hardcore liberals would be pissed at him.
This is also the reason why he wants these small steps of reform before he tackled anything as revolutionary as a single-payer system.
But I think it’s time for Obama to say, “F— you. We’re doing health care reform my way.”
Of course he’d go on to explain why it’s the right thing to do: it’d insure the uninsured, it’d remove health care discrimination, it’d make health care more affordable for all Americans, and it’d make healthier nation. Then he’d explain that while the price tag might be costly, it’ll be worth it in the long run.
“We can’t just run our nation for the present,” he’d say. “But we have to prepare for our futures.”
But he hasn’t, and my guess is that he probably won’t tell the Republicans, and the Blue Dog Democrats that make up most of the vocal opposition to fall in line. He won’t tell them that he’ll force the most liberal version of healthcare reform down their throats if they don’t support this tiny bit of reform.
Instead, he’ll continue to say, “I want a health care reform bill on my desk before August.”
The Senate and House will continue to wrangle out differences among themselves. The Blue Dogs and GOP will continue to fight over the “public option” and everyday these people will feel more empowered.
Come August, or right when Congress comes back for break, we’ll see a health care bill on Obama’s desk. It won’t be great. It won’t be bad either. It’ll have some necessary reforms that will improve this nation’s healthcare system.
But it probably won’t have the public option that is necessary to make this successful reform.
Since the president placed health care reform front and center in his first term, and with 60 Democratic Senators and a 79-seat majority in Congress, any plan that falls short of the goals laid out in his campaign for presidency is a loss and something that will hurt during midterm elections.
Obama needs to take a page out of the Bush playbook and remember that this is a battle Dick Cheney and others in the Bush White House would never lose.