Monday, January 25, 2010

Plouffe offers political clarity on health care reform

It's amazing how two-sided statements by Obama, Pelosi and Axelrod about the way forward on health care reform have been to date. Obama has managed to suggest simultaneously that piecemeal health care reforms can't work and that he's receptive to a scaled-back bill; Axelrod has done the same. Pelosi has been subtler, suggesting that she doesn't have the votes this moment to pass the Senate bill and work fixes by reconciliation, but that she wants them.

Into this haze comes a ray of clarity (in a Wash Post op-ed) from David Plouffe, newly brought aboard to lead White House political operations. Here's the first plank of the platform he sketches out for Democrats:
-- Pass a meaningful health insurance reform package without delay. Americans' health and our nation's long-term fiscal health depend on it. I know that the short-term politics are bad. It's a good plan that's become a demonized caricature. But politically speaking, if we do not pass it, the GOP will continue attacking the plan as if we did anyway, and voters will have no ability to measure its upside. If we do pass it, dozens of protections and benefits take effect this year. Parents won't have to worry their children will be denied coverage just because they have a preexisting condition. Workers won't have to worry that their coverage will be dropped because they get sick. Seniors will feel relief from prescription costs. Only if the plan becomes law will the American people see that all the scary things Sarah Palin and others have predicted -- such as the so-called death panels -- were baseless. We own the bill and the health-care votes. We need to get some of the upside. (P.S.: Health care is a jobs creator.)

Here's hoping that Plouffe is speaking with what will be Obama's voice.  The political logic is incontrovertible, and that's Plouffe's bailiwick. As for the long-term policy imperative, no one understands it better than Obama.

UPDATE (from the Dept. of taking credit for the sunrise): further down Plouffe's column, there's this fighting sentiment:
Instead of fearing what may happen, let's prove that we have more than just the brains to govern -- that we have the guts to govern.
That chimes with a bit of xpostfactoid-ese, highlighted in The Daily Dish on Jan. 19:
"We have one party that has not got the brains to govern. Will we now learn for certain that we have another party that hasn't got the guts?
 And of course, The Dish does have its readers:
As for what Obama reads online, his advisers said he looks for offbeat blogs and news stories, tracking down firsthand reporting and seeking out writers with opinions about his policies. Obama was particularly interested in Atlantic Online's Andrew Sullivan's tweeting of the Iranian elections last year, said an aide, who requested anonymity to discuss what influences the president. 

1 comment:

  1. I'll bet Rahm wasn't crazy about this.

    I too hope Plouffe is saying the same thing in private. Because it makes more sense than the circus sideshow we've gotten from Rahm, Barry and Harry.