I am reminded af a vignette in Ryan Lizza's July '08 New Yorker portrait of Obama:
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.”
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.”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."
“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.”