Published March 24, 2010
The bill has become law. It's been signed, sealed and delivered. And now, the aftermath of the health care vote is fascinating to the armchair political analysts and pundits.
Just a few weeks ago President Obama was seen as sinking fast. He was characterized as a one term president who was ineffective. In fact, many were calling him a complete disaster.
The right was overjoyed that our president looked so incompetent and the left was dismayed that they had worked for someone who broke promises and did not pay attention to the concerns of his base.
As I have said many times quoting Benjamin Franklin said "a week is a long time in politics" and this week proved old Ben right. Obama is now seen as someone who got a major piece of legislation through Congress by sheer will and work. Now he has moved from ineffective to a get-things-done leader, specifically on a health care bill that has eluded President's Nixon, Carter and Clinton.
Like many liberals I am not totally happy with the bill, I would have preferred a single payer system and and the ability of those over 55 to be able to purchase Medicare. But nothing is perfect and this bill is far from it.
Liberals would like Obama to govern with our agenda but he, like Clinton has chosen to govern more as a centrist Democrat. But he never could have pulled in the Blue Dog Democrats to vote for the bill if he had taken a more liberal position.
So what happens next? Obama can now build the momentum from his party to get some of his other legislative priorities accomplished. He doesn't have much time even if American becomes a lot happier with his presidency . The simple fact is that the history of midterm elections is not on his side. He needs to move his legislation quickly and use the same party unity tactics that brought him the major win he got on health care. You can't argue with results and that is precisely what he got on Sunday.
The Republicans can continue to carp all they want, they can spend hours talking on the airwaves and blogging till their heart's content but Obama not only looks like a winner this week, he is one!
Ellen Ratner is Washington bureau chief for Talk Radio News Service.
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