Monday, September 07, 2009

His speech will be pretty good

Just a wee bit of pressure has built up on Obama in anticipation of his health care speech before Congress and a national audience on Wednesday. Here's how Peter Baker's pre-game show in the Times, "Obama Faces a Critical Moment in His Presidency," frames it:

Of all the challenges Mr. Obama faces this fall, health care has come to dominate so much that the fate of the rest of his domestic program, particularly climate change legislation and new regulations on the financial industry, may depend in part on whether he wins this fight.

“He’s gone all in,” said Matt Bennett, vice president of Third Way, a Democratic-oriented advocacy organization, using a poker term. “Everyone’s watching. The bets are all on the table. And we’re just waiting to see what the cards say.”

I am reminded af a vignette in Ryan Lizza's July '08 New Yorker portrait of Obama:
Obama has always had a healthy understanding of the reaction he elicits in others, and he learned to use it to his advantage a very long time ago. Marty Nesbitt remembers Obama’s utter calm the day he gave his celebrated speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, in Boston, which made him an international celebrity and a potential 2008 Presidential candidate. “We were walking down the street late in the afternoon,” Nesbitt told me. “And this crowd was building behind us, like it was Tiger Woods at the Masters.”

“Barack, man, you’re like a rock star,” Nesbitt said.

“Yeah, if you think it’s bad today, wait until tomorrow,” Obama replied.

“What do you mean?”

“My speech,” Obama said, “is pretty good.”
My bets are on the President pulling out a health care bill that will disappoint many followers but that will be recognized in later years to have "move[d] this big battleship a few degrees in a different direction."

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