Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Late Summer Humor

The Obama Administration is now blaming the GOP for the fact that their health care "plan" (if you can describe five separate and contradictory bills as a plan) is going down in flames. That's rich.

If you have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, a massive majority in the House and a President who, we are told, is massively popular, the idea that the minority party is blocking your bill is pretty hilarious.

The reason this has been a debacle is the same problem I have been pointing out here since Obama was elected (and before). He's never run anything. He has no plan and no strategy. He has outsourced bill writing and policy detail to Congress and, as a result, he doesn't even know what he is out on the trail selling. He has mistaken his personal popularity (which is pretty much gone now - he has the worst approval rating at this stage of any modern president) for political power. His single tactic, claiming he won and everybody should shut up, is not only ineffective, it makes him look small.

Despite the caricature of Reagan as some kind of idiotic oaf, Obama would do well to have a look at the way he organized his first year in office. You can disagree with his policies, but Reagan and his team showed up with a well-defined legislative plan and, more imptortanly, clear and concise points to make in the public debates. The White House was in control of both the message and the political process, presumably because Reagan had some actual executive experience as governor of California. Obama controls neither now.

What is depressing is that there are a number of steps that could be taken to improve our coverage and care that do not include creating an giant, expensive government health care program. Just try finding health insurance with high deductibles and limited or no coverage for regular office visits. For the young and healthy, this would be the most logical plan, but you can't get it due to our Byzantine insurance regulations. I know because I've tried to find it for me and my employees. The lack of such an option is a big reason why so many of the uninsured are uninsured by choice. I have several friends who would rather roll the dice than pay an absurd premium just to have $15 office visits when they don't need to see a doctor at all in most years.

If Obama were smart, he would go for the low-hanging fruit, claim (rightly) credit for reform and build to bigger things. But somehow he has conceived that everything he does must be massive, complete and executed in his first year. It's a strategy that is killing him and a primary reason why he is about to sink below 50% approval after having been in office for less than 8 months.

1 comment:

Tony Alva said...

What a disaster it's all been. Now the fringe takes over. I've heard alternatives to the problem that are worth exploring (read my latest post), but it seems like the administration is hell bent on ensuring it's something ocean size whether it's the right thing or not.