The Obama administration has a huge public relations problem. After months of trying to sell their health care reform, they have announced they are going to “redo” their strategy by bringing in the moral and emotional cards.
I was talking with a friend of mine in DC who works for a far left progressive member. We don’t see eye to eye on much and this topic is no exception. I told him the president lost the debate on health care before it got started. Remember when the Clinton’s wrote a health care bill in 1993 and then sent it up to the hill? Seeing that this strategy didn’t work, this president decided to do the opposite and by doing so has failed to get the country to support him. Of course, this could be because he doesn’t have a plan. President Obama let the left-wing, progressive liberals in both chambers write their “wish-list” bill which was a huge mistake. The message the administration wants to portray -- you can keep your existing insurance, health care will be made more affordable for the uninsured and everyone will have the option to join a government-run insurance – are being overshadowed by the information that is already out there. These statements aren’t included in the current House and Senate bills.
Now trying to regain control of the debate, the president goes on tv and hosts his own so-called “town hall meetings” and repeats the same mantra day after day. Every time he tries to discuss health care legislation, public support of any plan crumbles.
During the campaign, the president advocated for a public option and said he wouldn’t sign a bill without it. However, over the weekend, his Health and Human Secretary said that a “public option isn’t the essential element” of a final health care bill. This didn’t sit well with the far left progressives who are demanding that a public option be in the final bill. This issue is the center point of the liberal’s debate for health care reform. Mr. Obama now must ensure them that he has not abandoned the public option. However, it is clear that all republicans and some conservative democrats are opposed to the idea of a government-run option. The president now walks a fine line between satisfying his far left base and getting something passed. Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) stated the Senate doesn’t have the votes for a bill that includes a “public option” and are now going to try and sway some republicans that a co-op is the way to go. Just remember a co-op is another word for “government run.”
On the House side, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has an even bigger problem. About 80 progressive democrats have said they will not vote for a bill unless it contains a public option. Considering they have 256 seats in the House, if the progressives defect, there's no win for them. If they keep the progressives happy, they risk losing all or almost all of the Blue Dogs. They have already lost the 20 pro-life Democrats who want an amendment in the bill that taxpayer money will not fund abortions but all amendments in the House and Senate on this topic have been rejected.
The president says he wants to reach out to Republicans but then slams them for being opposed to his reform. He can’t have it both ways. You can’t want their help and then bash them because we have different ideas. Once again, because he can’t get his party to rally behind him, he turns to blaming the GOP despite the bipartisan meetings going on between some democrats and republicans in the Senate who are trying to reach a compromise. In a recent radio interview, the president had the audacity to say “early on a decision was made by the Republican leadership that said, 'Look, let's not give them a victory and maybe we can have a replay of 1993-94 when Clinton came in. He failed on health care, and then we won in the midterm elections, and we got the majority.” Republican leaders didn’t take kindly to his argument and said the president has no plans to engage in bipartisan talks. The last time the republicans were invited to the White Hose to talk about health care was April, 2009. When you hold large majorities in both chambers and control the White House, trying to “blame” to the opposition for not getting things passed isn’t going to fly with the American people.
After meeting with liberal clergy on Wednesday, the president is trying to tell us that this is “about right and wrong and honoring faith.” Telling religious organizations that “the one thing you all share is a moral conviction. You know this debate over health care goes to the heart of who we are in America.” Moral convictions, really? Then why do you Mr. President support the killing of the unborn? I guess your moral obligation is only to those that are already born.