What about the lobbyists, Mr. President?

In the wake of President Barack Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress this week on health reform, Americans showed how finicky their support can be. There is no doubt the President delivered the finest-sounding rhetoric topped with a cherry, but should Americans mindlessly accept it as truth cut from whole cloth that should now serve as their basis for renewed support?

There are so many details that have not surfaced yet. Individuals are still culling through the drips and drabs of details the White House chooses to release, wrapped in more tantalizing promises of milk and honey.


Healthcare: endgame

By consolidating support among Democrats — from liberals threatening all or nothing on the public option to conservatives nervous about cost and clarity for the insured now fearful of reform — President Barack Obama's speech served his purpose. Now is the time to get everybody on board and voting yes — everybody, that is, except for Republicans.


More real reporting on healthcare

As part of my experiment to use the Pundits Blog to report real news and news analysis, the most important result of the president's speech is this: One day after the president spoke to rally the troops for the public option he said he supported, both the Speaker of the House and the majority leader of the Senate clearly changed their positions in ways contrary to the president's words.

Specifically, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the health co-ops are an effective substitute for the public option, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who had previously said a bill could not and should not pass the House without a public option, has changed to the position that it is negotiable.


President Obama, Lyndon Johnson and Medicare

The president's speech last night was fine. It might add a little boost in the polls. It will not significantly affect the outcome. It does not deal with the larger and more important issue about the Obama presidency in general and healthcare in particular, which is this:

This town is run by power players, power centers and power institutions. The most successful presidents have mastered the art of dealing with these power centers. This is something that President Barack Obama has not yet done.


Should the individual or government control healthcare?

While the president's town hall meeting before a joint session of Congress last night was eloquent, compromising and signaled the abandonment of the public option, let's not lose focus on the reality of what this president and Congress still face. In order to create bipartisan healthcare reform, it is instructive to examine the issues that are difficult or impossible to reach a consensus on and areas where there may be common ground between the two views.


Obama's healthcare reform speech to Congress

President Barack Obama's disapproval ratings were rising at an alarmingly (to Democrats) rapid pace back in July when he was very visible and very vocal in his attempts to push an unpopular healthcare reform bill down our collective throat. Most analysts thought those numbers might smooth out when Obama "disappeared" for a while during the August recess. But the approval numbers sank even further as the disapprovals kept inching upwards.


There ain't no such thing as a free lunch

It used to be tradition in 19th century American saloons for barkeepers to give a free lunch to any patron who bought a drink.

But, of course, the lunch wasn’t free because you had to buy a drink to get it. Saloon owners knew that if they could get folks in the door with free food, they could keep them there with expensive booze.

Milton Friedman wrote a whole book called, There is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch, where he laid out, in economic terms, how expensive “free” can be.


Healthcare: The illusion of choice

At first glance, the strongest argument advanced by opponents of universal healthcare is the need to protect personal freedom.

Part of this has to do with Americans' preference for free markets. When we shop, we like to have plenty of choice, whether the commodity is breakfast cereal, automobiles or healthcare. We're afraid that, if we adopt universal healthcare, our healthcare choices will be restricted.


After the public option goes

The president has staked much of his reputation and Republicans have aimed much of their fire at the so-called public option.

The left originally only cared about a single-payer plan, but after they came to the bitter conclusion that single-payer was not gonna happen, they turned to the public option as their last best chance to get real reform.


Time for Team Obama to show pragmatist side

It will soon be time for the liberal left to let it go.
Sure, there's a chance President Obama comes out next week and wages a useless fight for the public option that won't pass the Senate, but he always seemed more of a pragmatic type to me.