Maybe the President will have an “I told you so” signing ceremony by year’s end. Maybe, once again, we will have underestimated his resilience. Maybe all his rats will have climbed back aboard the White House that that didn’t sink.
But maybe it’ll be the rats squealing “I told you so” as they try to swim to political safety as far away as they can from the submerged health care reform effort that was too heavy a load for Captain Obama’s first year at the helm in very choppy seas.
It’s entirely possible that health care may become the President’s domestic Viet Nam, (not to be confused with Afghanistan in the International category). Like Viet Nam, health care can easily be described as a “morass” that sucks in the unwitting leader, who ignores the warnings and disregards a history of failure as he ventures into the muck.
The predictable result is an uproar that nearly paralyzes a nation, no matter how honorable the cause. We’re already seeing it. Witness the explosive Town Hall anger last month, incited by unscrupulous political guerrillas who had no regard for the truth or the consequences.
To stop the Democratic President at any cost, Republicans and their insurgents ignited their roadside bombasts and blew up almost any chance of a reasonable debate over this all-important issue.
Their unprincipled tactics seem to have worked. Disregarding the collateral damage, the reactionaries are stepping through the rubble and retaking the offense after their humiliation last November. Meanwhile, Democrats have done what they always do. They are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
We are so bitterly divided that even a plan for the President Tuesday to give children a platitude-laden televised pep talk became ridiculously controversial.
Conservatives successfully got some trembling school officials around the country to abandon any civic responsibility and refuse to show the remarks. The right wingers insisted it was all clearly an attempt to “indoctrinate” the kids. One of them described the effort as a subterfuge to “spread President Obama’s socialist ideology”
Can we really continued to call ourselves the UNITED States when innocuous comments by our elected leader cause such an uproar? How crazy is it that his remarks, telling children they should work hard, would become a sinister plot? Come to think of it, no more so than the frenzy over “Death Panels”.
Presumably, no one will boycott, except the Fox network, of course, when the President tries to reverse his downward health care spiral, and confronts Congress with his speech to a joint session.
We can only hope that it doesn’t turn into another Town Hall, with opportunistic members assuming the roles of the Nuts of August as they scream from the audience. The way things have been going it would not be a surprise if they did.
It is possible calmer heads will be able to soothe the raw feelings and smooth the blown up path to some sort of compromise. Is that what Max Baucus is trying to do? It’s really hard to tell if he’s helping or making things more impossible.
But when the debris settles, perhaps President Obama will escape his own morass with some sort of face saving half-hearted changes he and the rest can call “health care reform. Then, they can take the old Viet Nam advice to “declare victory and go home”. That’s their best chance to have a ship to ride into next year’s election, long after the President has his contrived “I told you so” moment.