17 December 2009

To the White House: It's just not working

The health care bill is a debacle. It is a testament to the failure of the Senate leadership, and the White House's failure to marshal the support of its own party. This is simple historical fact.

The White House must now do a postmortem and figure out what to do about it, if it hopes to make any progress in the future on a Democratic legislative agenda.

HERE are a few ideas:

Have the courage of convictions. Pres. Obama should have loudly lambasted Joe Lieberman early in the debate, and made clear that he expected Democrats to be Democrats. By not doing this, he was effectively giving them permission.

The President needs to realize that his future support will NOT come from the Republicans or the right. It is the disaffected Independents, who are not ideological, but who have not believed for YEARS that anyone in Washington represents their interests, who are the margin of future victories. The president must reach out to these people with a message not of hopes and dreams but concrete programs that he asks for  their support for. He needs to ASK the people to MAKE the special interest addicted members of his own party in Congress vote for an agenda of principle.

People like Nelson, and especially Lieberman, need to be called out. We Democrats aren't stupid. When a Democrat isn't voting like a Democrat but is allowed to hijack the whole program, it's frustrating. It makes people stay home and not vote, while the party out of power is marshaling its base.

The president needs to lay out some specifics of what he wants to do and make clear that he needs the support of the people to see to it that the Congress does its job. Otherwise, it won't, and the Democrats will fail. It really is that stark.

Some major rethinking needs to be done, because whatever you in the White House are telling yourselves: IT'S JUST NOT WORKING.

Thank you.

David Studhalter

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