When Congress returns from recess next week, the President expects to make a speech that is intended to make him look Presidential while still finally acknowledging that the public outcry against government run healthcare which inflicts a so called public option on people that was less of an option and more coercion, is not what they want.
Part of the administration’s saving face strategy is a new list of demands that the President will detail either in a speech next week or sometime soon after.
White House officials claim that the President will seek a hybridized version of the troubled “public option” and they suggest that this new form of compromise will seek to achieve harmony on the healthcare issue.
As I have suggested, a bipartisan approach could go a long way in reaching harmony. But the President may not yet be prepared to go the bipartisan route.
Instead he may do what analysts have suggested that he should have done in the first place, which was to create his own legislation for Congress to consider.
It is not often that a President allow the leaders of Congress to be the primary authors of legislation that the President wants to initiate. By Obama doing this, the left of center liberal congressional leadership did craft an extreme bill that did not go over well with middle of the road Americans.
If Presidernt Obama does present his own healthcare bill for consideration, it will still probably be to liberal for most Americans tastes. The only way for it not to be, would be for the President to craft his own legislation along with a bipartisan team of Republicans and Democrats that could help assemble a collection of reforms that has a chance of passing with the support of both congressional Democrats and Republicans.
For weeks I have stated that the President must shift gears. With his popularity eroding on all fronts, including with his base and natural constituencies, this about face on the public option is long overdue. He never should have made it the central focus of the healtcare reform in the first place. Had he not done that, his leftist base of supporters would not have been so riled up over it that now they will hold dropping the public option against him.
Now, unless the President brings some Republicans on board for his next round of proposals on healthcare reform, this one may also fail to pass muster in Congress.
A large portion of the President’s own liberal base in Congress will not stand with him on any reforms that do not include a “public option”. That means he will have to rely on Republican votes.
LBJ encountered a similar situation back in the 60’s when he tried to pass civil rights legislation. He did not have enough votes within the Democrat Congressional majorities. So he relied heavily on Republican Senate Leader Everett Dirksen who was instrumental in getting enough votes to get civil rights legislation passed.
President Obama seems to have awaken to the fact that his course of action on healthcare has been more harmful than beneficial. Now he just has to be aware of how to correct his mistakes. Half measures will not do and going it alone will not do either. If the President ever needed to work with Republicans now is the time and now is his chance.