Congratulations to President Obama (and Nancy Pelosi)


pelosi obama.jpgAnyone watching the health care debate unfold this past year couldn’t help but note that it had the feel of a badly run, badly managed sports season in which the President’s team nonetheless is going to end up holding the trophy cup.
Some time between 6 pm and midnight eastern, there will be a vote in the House of Representatives that passes health care reform. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is already getting rave reviews in the media for taking a dead health care package and breathing life back into it and beating and kicking the legislation through a very tough crowd in her House of Representatives.
Pelosi deserves the praise.
President Obama is said not to be really turned on to a challenge unless he is being tested and feels like he is losing. It’s said — by chroniclers like Richard Wolffe in his book Renegade: The Making of an American President — that Obama then decides to get on his game, and change things up on his team and in his approach, and then really pushes hard.
This is exactly what President Obama did on health care — and he too deserves huge credit.
I am waiting to see what the final package looks like when it comes to women’s reproductive rights and some other issues. The kick-in periods for some important pieces of this legislation are years away. I think it is a big mistake not to have a public option out there for people as I don’t see how cost containment is achieved without such an option.
But that said, I am for health care reform, not only for the merits of helping Americans deal with pre-existing condition nightmares but because of the massive opportunity costs of this legislation that distracted from so many other key problems the country is facing now.
Obama is already telling folks that he needed health care checked off to be able to move to jobs and immigration, but there’s a lot that desperately needs serious attention on the foreign policy plate.
And we hope that the President will take stock pretty soon — realize he’s not doing well on foreign policy, and show the same sort of ‘getting his game on’ approach there as he has done on health care.
Congratulations President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and others on the White House team for what looks to be a victory tonight — even Rahm (!).
— Steve Clemons
Editor’s Note: I believe health care reform legislation will pass the House tonight, but I will be on a plane to Tripoli, Libya this evening and won’t be able to blog it then. So, I wanted my comments up now. I will be at the AIPAC annual meeting today before the health care vote. Best, Steve Clemons


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