Political Tactics and Health Care Reform

For those who follow politics at all we were all in for a bit of a surprise (all of us except Charles Krauthammer apparently) when the Obama Administration announced that a public option was not essential for a “comprehensive” health care reform bill.  Well, allow me to concede that I am not all knowing nor as adept as men the likes of Krauthammer and my professors whose opinions I cannot wait to hear on this topic next week but I was surprised.  Why would President Obama concede this portion of his plan?  A public option is the key to a liberal utopia in America and I simply could not understand it.

So while driving to work on Monday I was reflecting on this a bit (I typically drive with the radio off.  There is nothing like a quiet drive to get the mind churning and prepared for the work day ahead) on this question.  My mind backed up to the beginning of the health care debate, YouTube videos and the town halls.  Then came the comments from the Obama Administration that the town halls were just fringe movements, not really grassroots opposition to health care followed days later by a Fox News Poll saying 52% of people say town hall protesters exhibiting genuine outrage (29% thought they were fake mobs planted by the GOP).

Then Obama comes out and says a public option is not essential.  The same public option he has wanted for years apparently and had to quickly respond to with this rather wimpy video.  Why drop the public option, at least publically then?  To save “bipartisan face”.  I realize this is almost a week in coming and I am sure if I had not been working or suffering under hydrocodone I would have noticed someone else say this:  Obama does not relaly want to drop a public option but he wants to pin it on the “perceived radicals in the House of Representatives”, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank and Henry Waxman among others.

Word about the public option from the House was far from over.  Rather quickly Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer were at odds about whether a public option was needed to pass the bill in the House.  The Democrats have a large enough majority in the House and Senate to get a bill passed anyway they like it.  So why would Obama back off?  President Obama must not want to go against popular opinion as near as I can figure.  The town halls must be legitimate expressions of dislike.  Therefore President Obama is in the middle of separating himself from the more radical elements of his party which he knows will pass the bill like he wants in order to save face before the American people.


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