Ezra Klein: President Still Irrelevant to Heath Care Debate

Ezra's title - "Has Obama Played Health Care Exactly Right? Does It Even Matter?. His answer? No.

Boy did Ezra waste a lot of time the past two years analyzing the health care proposals of the Presidential candidates. And then I wasted a lot of time reading his analysis.

Those are hours of my life I'll never get back. Who could have imagined that the new pro-Obama line on health care would be that he is irrelevant? One merit this argument does have is that it does describe transformative change. From the time of FDR, the President of the United states has been the leader on issues in our country. He did not always get his way. but he was able to set the agenda.

President Obama, his supporters say, has changed all that. Now the President does not matter in the debates on what policies to enact. Perhaps this can be a good thing. Except when Republicans are President, it will not be so. Obama is going the way of Jimmy Carter if Ezra is to be believed.

Speaking for me only

< 2010: A Base Election With A Dispirited Dem Electorate | Endgame In the 11 Dimensional Chess Match? >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Because Obama is the pinnacle of change (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by andgarden on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:08:13 PM EST
    if he can't make it happen, it's impossible, or someone else's fault, or something.

    I can't argue with that. (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Fabian on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:20:25 PM EST
    There's speculation galore about what's happening "behind the scenes".  (Quick, let's ask the JornoLists!)  The Obama supporters still insist that Obama is on top of this and there will be a happy ending.  I still don't see any evidence of that.

    Have you been contacted by a (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 02:42:18 PM EST
    White House source on this.  I haven't all day :)  As soon as we both are though lets get our heads together and figure out how to write the biggest pieces of brown nosing puff journalism we can come up with kay?  Oh yeah, and then let's do lunch.  And I hope you're free for cocktails this evening.

    Powerless President (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:21:54 PM EST
    Where was this philosphy during the Bush years? I remember when we had to continually roll over because of the power of the president. Even after the Katrina debacle , Bush still managed to get Congress to rubber stamp his agenda.

    If this is the case, then it shows that Obama has less leadership skills than Bush, and the Democrat's and the country are in serious trouble.

    They have something in common. (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Fabian on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:34:34 PM EST
    Both Bush and Obama can get very animated and enthusiastic when they are talking about policies and issues that they care about.  Both of them have problems selling any policy that they don't understand and/or support.

    Obama might be able to sell single payer health care if he believed in it.  Obama could certainly sell a serious pubic option at this time, with this Congress, in this economic and political climate.  It's useless to speculate about why he chooses not to. I will observe that Obama has definitely chosen not to launch a major campaign yet - but he's running out of time.


    For me, the kicker (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by lilburro on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:26:23 PM EST
    We have a tendency to work backward when trying to understand why something is going wrong, and that necessarily leads us to think a lot about tactics. But it doesn't answer the question of whether the outcome would be different if the opposite strategy had been tried. Under Clinton, it was tried. And it failed. Obama's strategy has brought him a lot closer than Clinton ever got, although it's also been yoked to a much more modest piece of legislation.

    How are we supposed to be excited about this?  How is this going boldly where no President has gone before?

    Obama now might be a Clinton (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:29:05 PM EST
    That is Ezra's shining message.

    I thought the Kennedy's (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:33:28 PM EST
    adopted him.  My, I am so confused.

    Heh. Not smart enough, not (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by oldpro on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:35:18 PM EST
    savvy enough and not experienced enough to be Clinton.

    This guy wasn't ready to govern and Clinton was.


    And yet on August 18th (none / 0) (#7)
    by lilburro on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:33:24 PM EST
    Obama was bolder than LBJ.  Le sigh.

    Heh (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:34:24 PM EST
    Ezra is like the weather, if you do not like what he says, just wait a day.

    Funny. (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by lilburro on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:43:23 PM EST
    Again from Ezra's post:

    Any bill, under these conditions, will be a major accomplishment.


    I mean, this is getting ridiculous.


    Why am I reminded (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Cream City on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 05:05:11 PM EST
    of the kids' grade school award ceremonies, when everybody got a ribbon for something phenomenal?

    I managed to keep a straight face when one kid who obviously had absolutely stymied the teachers in coming up with something good to say about him . . . well, that kid got an award for helping the custodian.  The other kids snickered, though, 'cause they knew the recipient kept sneaking out to the custodian's hideaway to cadge a smoke with him.

    I called it the "Junior Janitor Award."  But I'll tell ya, that kid cleaned up messes better than the Dems are gonna do.


    Never thought the day would come (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by oldpro on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:32:36 PM EST
    when I'd be wishing LBJ were currently the  president.

    Timing is everything (5.00 / 4) (#19)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 02:46:10 PM EST
    With the mess left by Bush and company, this was a time for a really strong, hard nosed politician like LBJ to clean it up.

    Now was not the time for a thinker, but the time for a doer.


    Which is why I supported Hillary. (none / 0) (#22)
    by oldpro on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 09:00:19 PM EST
    This administration's performance so far is not surprising...at least not to me.

    It isn't surprising to ANYONE (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by cawaltz on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 10:52:46 PM EST
    who paid attention and begged and pleaded to have a REAL discussion on the differences between the candidates rather than mouthing the platitudes that they were all basically the same(which was kinda like saying dogs and cats are the same based on the principle they are both mammals).

    Heck, I'm longing for (none / 0) (#15)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 01:56:02 PM EST
    Nixon at this point.

    Get a grip! (none / 0) (#16)
    by oldpro on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 01:58:09 PM EST
    Nixon shudda gone to jail.

    I'll take his healthcare plan tho.


    Shudder (none / 0) (#17)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 02:12:14 PM EST
    He was a paranoid crook, but he was to the left of every president since then but Jimmy Carter.

    That said, I'd be delighted to compromise on LBJ-- sans war.  Gimme a president who's willing to use every weapon in his arsenal to get stuff passed.


    Power (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 12:50:02 PM EST
    When Republican's controlled all branches of government, the Democrat's were powerless

    When Democrat's gained control of the House, they were still powerless

    Now they control all branches and they remain powerless.

    Conclusion: Democratic's are just powerless

    Headlines should read (5.00 / 7) (#14)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 01:10:27 PM EST
    "Obama concedes political power to Grassley on health insurance plan."

    Acutally (none / 0) (#20)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 02:52:57 PM EST
    what we have now is rotating presidents. Grassley is President today, maybe Baucus tomorrow. Susan Collins was the economic President during the stimulus and on it goes.

    It doesn't help (none / 0) (#24)
    by cawaltz on Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 10:57:10 PM EST
    when you have Howard Dean's group trying to "pressure" him even though his bank account is plenty fat and his challengers are not well known enough to mount a real challenge. From a strategy viewpoint they'd do better to lean on Burr, who has about $55,000 on hand to defend himself or Coburn, who had a pretty raucus town hall.

    The more they paint Grassley as a power player, the more they make that perception the reality.