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US Politics

A State of the Union Response

In going along with Max Baucus and Harry Reid’s wishes, he signaled his approval of  their plan to eliminate The Public Option?

This is an edited email I sent in reply to a Obama supporter in North Carolina following the State of The Union address.

I completely agree with your sentiments re the State of the Union address and also concur that specifics relating to a number of critical issues were lacking.  I was also perplexed by Mr Obama’s attempt to gain sympathy for the difficulty he faces in having to deal with a lousy political system, uncooperative and recalcitrant Republicans, and a vast number of voters who apparently can’t read his mind. The President’s attempts at jocularity seemed out of place on this occasion, particularly in view of the hardships many people are enduring. Also he needs to stop repeatedly telling people that he understands their problems. It doesn’t help. But positive action would.

This time people were not looking to be inspired by his words, they were more anxious to hear of his plans and how he intends to achieve them. They wanted substance. Perhaps someone should remind the President – that he is – The President. And as such, he needs to have plans for achieving policy goals, strategies to execute his agenda , and a way of clearly communicating with the American people. In his first State of The Union speech, the President needed to outline his plans in sufficient detail to be understood and appreciated. Had he done so, that would have resonated.

Unfortunately that did not happen – e.g. — Financial Regulation, (No specifics) — Healthcare ( No specifics )  —  Energy ( No major inititiaves on Green Energy support) — Climate Change Issues (no specifics yet).

On Healthcare, he began with a mild apology for not being clear about what he actually wanted. He then he stated that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates showed that Healthcare models reviewed could reduce the deficit by $1 trillion over 20 years. Next he gave an assurance that he wouldn’t walk away from Healthcare. He closed the subject by suggesting that if people had any (better ideas?) they should let him know. Now just a minute!  The facts are, his supporters did let him know exactly what they wanted in Healthcare right from the start. They couldn’t have been any clearer. Has he forgotten, that in going along with Max Baucus and Harry Reid’s wishes, he signaled  his approval of  their plan to eliminate The Public Option?

Similarly has the President forgotten that it was he who reportedly agreed to an early back room deal with Big Phrma to deny the import of generic drugs from Canada. (something  supporters learned after the fact, via the media).  So for the Healthcare cost containment argument to be totally credible, that dreadful backroom deal has to be canceled. Should the President change his stance on this, then Big Phrma will be forced to lower prices to be competitive. That can only be good for America. This is an important test of the veracity of Mr Obama’s claims about wanting to change the way things are done in Washington.

Now that the President has publicly asked people suggest better ideas for Healthcare reform, they should insist that Mr Obama be involved and lead the campaign for a Bill to include both “A Public Option and Drug Import Legislation” to provide real price competition and cost reduction delivered through national healthcare exchanges in each state. He should insist that sections of the House Bill which account for these provisions are melded with the Senate Bill into the final Bill. Then he should use his considerable powers to get it passed. (regardless of any Republican threat to filibuster)  In fact a Republican filibuster against a Healthcare Bill which offers these provisions would be helpful. As a catalyst and call to action, it would  re – engergise the country’s  Obama supporters and regain the support of Independents. Checkmate.

If  President Obama and the Democrats deliver a quality Healthcare Bill, Republicans will have even more trouble in November. They know it. That’s why they are fighting so hard.

Mr Obama’s words alone won’t save America. But positive action supported by the American people will produce results. Appeals for understanding about how hard the job is – won’t do the trick. But a determination to pursue vital issues and being more specific about what he wants will save his Presidency. That is vitally important to America’s immediate future. From now on it is up to the American people to organize and press relentlessly to let the President and members of Congress know precisely what it is they want.



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