23 April 2009

Make me do it

There's an apocryphal story about FDR's approach to his progressive allies shortly after his election:
A group came to him urging specific actions in support of a cause in which they deeply believed. He replied: "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it."

He understood that a President does not rule by fiat and unilateral commands to a nation. He must build the political support that makes his decisions acceptable to our countrymen.
In this vein I was very happy today to see this story in the WaPo:

Health-Care Dialogue Alarms Obama's Allies
More than 70 House Democrats recently warned party leaders that they will not support a broad health reform bill that does not offer consumers a government-sponsored policy, and two unions withdrew from a high-profile health coalition because it would not endorse a public plan.
This is the right way for the left wing to proceed.  Be involved, negotiate and be open to discussion.  Pick the points that are priorities.  And make sure the President, and the political world know there is a point at which you will walk away.  Obama wants a public option -- so do Waxman and Kennedy.  If the bill is held hostage by Evan Bayh and Olympia Snowe, it would be easy for the negotiators to toss it out as a bargaining chip, as Max Baucus has indicated he is willing to do.  But if there is a credible way in which the leadership can say: "this is essential -- my people won't agree to any package without it," then it no longer is in jeapordy as a token. 

Cheerleading will only get you so far.   The gravitational center of the political world is the center.  Progressive agitation is the way to create a countervailing force which will make it possible for Obama to demand the deal he actually wants.

1 comment:

  1. The president has all his ammo/ political capital and is currently reloading and taking aim.
    I think more and more, voters are starting to realize that the right person was picked for the job (the ones that don't believe the pundits on Fox News at least).

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