Obama’s flagship policy has been reduced to pro-forma status
The president’s entry into the chamber and the two customary rounds of applause were definitely subdued compared to past SOU’s. There was a sense of deflation. I watched the first few minutes of the SOU until I got bored and turned it off.
I’ve just read the part of the speech on the health care bill. Ramesh Ponnuru at the Corner sums it up well: “The health-care section of the speech was oddly perfunctory, the foreign-policy section characteristically so.” Obama revisited the issue, admitted that bill had run into a lot of opposition, reiterated his belief that the bill is a good one, said he’s not going to give it up, and appealed to people to support it. But we know from recent statements in the Congress that the only possible way of moving the bill forward at this time is through the wildly improper reconciliation gimmick. Furthermore, given that 69 percent of the public according to a CNN poll oppose the bill, given that the Democrats seem to be aware that they have seriously damaged themselves in the public’s eyes and are on a kind of probation, and given the statements by congressional leaders quoted in the January 27 New York Times to the effect that they are not rushing to get the bill passed, it seems to me highly unlikely that the Democrats would now attempt to ram the thing through by such gross legerdemain .
In conclusion, the way I read Obama’s remarks is that he was saving face. He didn’t want to admit he’s been defeated, so he repeated his support for the bill and said he hopes it can be passed; but he put no passion into saying that and he doesn’t really expect it to happen.
Yuval Levin at the Corner takes the same view:
I think the only way to read the health care section—when you cool off you should take another look at our plans, and let me know if you have better ideas—is as an acknowledgement that Obamacare as we have known it is dead.As I said this morning (yesterday morning), “This time, it looks as though the Thing really is dead.”
But on the whole, this was really an incredibly graceless, self-righteous, and grouchy performance….There is a lot of good analysis of the speech at the Corner.
Here are some highlights:
Is It Just Me … or do the Obamas not appear particularly happy tonight?John Hood:
I think the exasperation vibe you’re picking up from the Obamas is very real. Rather than being chastened by political defeat, or being willing to pretend persuasively that he is chastened like Clinton did after 1994, the president has chosen to exude annoyance with the existence of dissent and the misuse of the franchise by Massachusetts voters.James Capretta
Larry T. writes:
I’m watching the SOTU. The great ham, Joe Biden, is nodding like a bobble-head doll, and flashing his cheshire cat smile at intervals. I’m half expecting him to elbow Obama out of the way. Sheesh- Obama is still shilling for anthropogenic global warming. I feel ill.LA writes:
What I and Yuval Levin and other writers at the Corner saw as an admission that health care is dead, was seen by a commenter at The New Republic that Obama is still fighting:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 28, 2010 12:19 AM | Send