Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Political Speculation

Like millions of others, I voted for Barak Obama with unrealistic expectations. That may explain my disappointment with how he has dealt with the issue of health care reform.

Listening to his remarks during the campaign and the first months of his presidency, I came to hope that with his eloquence and ability to deal with complex issues, he would lead the American people through the urgent and conflicting issues of cost and coverage. I thought he might have been able to help people to understand the relationship between the two and the importance of dealing with both of them, even though that might involve some unpleasantness, even sacrifice.

I was then chagrined to see him abandon the cost issue almost altogether and take a demagogic approach to coverage by demonizing health insurance companies. The result is a hodge-podge piece of legislation that promises more than it probably will be able to deliver and is more likely to exacerbate the cost issue rather than to alleviate it.

Then I read a long article about Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner in the most recent Atlantic magazine. It described the unpopular but successful way in which the Obama administration dealt in its beginning days with the financial crisis it inherited. The policies followed offended both the left and the right wings of the political spectrum and used up a large chunk of the political capital Obama had accumulated in the election.

So perhaps the President decided he didn’t have enough left to take the high road in health care reform but that instead he would use that issue to restore some of it.

That is pure speculation, but there may be something to it.

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