Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Sargent: "Obama To America: Go Out And Make Congress Pass Health Reform"

Greg Sargent:
If the White House has decided to give up on health care reform, Obama didn’t get the memo, at least judging by his comments at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire just now.

The most interesting bit, I thought: Obama urged Americans to keep up the pressure on their members of Congress to get it done.

After an extended discussion of the plight of the uninsured, Obama said: “We should keep working to get it done, Democrats and Republicans, let’s get it done this year!”

Obama also seemed to signal an awareness that the bill needs to be resold to the public. “We have to make sure we move methodically,” Obama said, so that “the American People understand what’s in the bill.”

“It is the right thing to do for America,” Obama continued. “You need to let your members of Congress know they shouldn’t give up, they should keep pushing to make it happen.”

That smacks a bit of F.D.R.’s famous line: “Now go out and make me do it.” Except Obama is saying, “Go out there and make them do it.”

Those who want Obama to push Congress harder in a specific direction — getting the House to pass the Senate bill, for instance — will be disatisfied by this, and will see it as another sign that he’s fobbing reform off on Congress.

But Obama is inviting the public to keep up the pressure on their members — implicitly ratcheting up the pressure himself. Bottom line: He just didn’t sound like someone who has given up on getting this done in an ambitious and comprehensive way.

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