Sunday, December 20, 2009

"Sunday Roundup: White House And Howard Dean Turn Down Heat" (Updated)

UPDATE: Joe Sudbay (AMERICAblog) isn't buying the idea that the health care debate is cooling down: "Joe Biden Meet Ben Nelson."

Greg Sargent:
The White House is clearly softening its rhetoric against Howard Dean, in an apparent effort to turn down the heat of their fight now that the bill appears to be clearing the Senate and needs support from House liberals.
On NBC this morning, David Axelrod went out of his way to say, “I respect Howard Dean,” describing him as “passionate” about the issue. Meanwhile, Joe Biden wrote an Op ed saying: “I respect his leadership on health care, and I understand his criticism of the bill.”

That’s after Robert Gibbs suggested that Dean was “irrational.”

* Meanwhile, on NBC, Dean conspicuously declined to say that Obama had failed to fight hard enough for core liberal priorities — a frequent criticism on the left. Asked about this line, Dean reiterated his substantive criticism of the bill, but added: “He certainly tried very hard.” And he declined to call outright for the bill to be killed.

* In his Op ed Biden made an interesting point, noting that the Senate bill accomplishes more health care reform than Vermont did while Dean was governor, and does it for the whole country.

* On CNN this morning, Axelrod made a rather bold prediction, saying Dems would do very well in 2010. He said that the polls “will take care of themselves” over time if the White House and Dems keep focusing on strengthening the “basic pillars of a middle class life.” Said Axelrod: “Talk to me next October.”

* Senator Richard Burr, who’s well-known for his concern for the political health of Democrats, predicts political disaster for Dems if they pass the health care bill. Says he: “The lines are drawn.” Indeed.

* Rahm Emanuel defends the President against charges that imperfect outcomes on climate change and health care prove he doesn’t fight hard enough for core liberal goals:

In an interview, Mr. Emanuel said the developments showed that Mr. Obama“sets out the North Stars for us” in terms of broad and ambitious goals, but is willing to let his staff and allies haggle over the specifics. “He doesn’t negotiate the ends,” Mr. Emanuel said. “He’s very open to discussing alternative routes.”

But some would say Obama’s unwillingness to “negotiate the ends” is precisely the problem. The only thing that can settle this argument is the sum total of what Obama has accomplished once his presidency is over.

* On the day after Senate Dems reached a deal quite likely to result in the passage of a monumental health care reform bill Obama has sought, David Broder argues that Obama is in severe trouble with Congressional Dems and that things have only begun to tank.

* Ezra Klein tells you what’s important in the Manager’s Amendment.


And apropos of nothing, the most popular post on CNN’s Political Ticker right now: “Palin Continues To Blast Climate Change Believers.”

What else is happening?

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