Here we are, 8 months into Barack Obama's presidency, and the time has come. The administration is at the crux of a weighty decision that will determine its historic success or failure. Of course, I'm talking about the health care issue.
As I see it, there are only two options available to the President:
- Fulfill the promise of his campaign, and insist on health care reform that includes universal coverage and, at the minimum, a public option that gives people an alternative to the vampiric health insurance companies;
- Submit to the shrieking and fear-mongering whipped up by Republicans and their health insurance company masters and forgo the public option, thus rendering any "reform" meaningless.
I think part of Obama's drop in approval has been due to the perception that he is too accommodating to ignorant, stupid people.
From my perspective, as a proud and unapologetic liberal/progressive, Barack Obama has done nothing but appease the right-wing freaks and their asinine, delusioned fears. He has soft-peddled and constrained any efforts to investigate the filthy Bush administration for its war crimes. He relented on the repeal of the disastrous Bush tax cuts that have brought this country to the brink of financial disaster. He has pulled back on his timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, while doubling down on our gamble in Afghanistan. He even watered down his address to the nation's school children this Tuesday in response to tea-bagger shrieking about "brain-washing," for Christ's sake!
The administration has been sending out mixed signals regarding the inclusion of a so-called "public option" in any health care reform bill. Right-wingers, including conservative Democrats, are quick to pronounce such an initiative dead. Meanwhile, progressive Democrats in the House of Representatives, led by the uncharacteristically courageous Nancy Pelosi, have said that, without a public option, a bill will not pass their chamber. But no one knows, for sure, where the administration stands.
President Obama has scheduled an appearance before a joint session of Congress this Wednesday to address the issue. So, here's where the rubber meets the road. Is President Obama going to be the president that he promised during the campaign? Or is he just another appeaser; is he going to be intimidated by ignorant, stupid people?
I've had it with trying to becalm the hysterics of these fools! My support for the President hinges on his willingness to stand up to them and tell them they are stupid. The Democrats have dominant majorities in both houses of Congress; if we can't get it done now, we might as well submit the public to the tender mercies of corporate pirates.
It is a rare moment, indeed, when the turbulent forces of national politics become so focused, provide such a clear view of how the future will unfold. Barack Obama's decision regarding a public option in the health care reform debate provides just such a moment.
So...what's it gonna be, Barack?