JONATHAN CHAIT JANUARY 23, 2010
From today's New York Times piece about David Plouffe's re-emergence in Obamaland:
It remains an open question how much new legislation will pass Congress, but the coming months will help frame the campaigns. While some form of financial regulation and job creation measures may pass, Obama aides said, the larger initiatives like health care, a cap on carbon emissions and an immigration overhaul may have to wait, even though the White House denies trimming its ambitions. ...
The administration is still exploring options with Congressional leaders to salvage a wide-reaching health care bill, but one adviser who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal strategy said, “I think they’re coming to the realization that we may be in a pause mode.”
On the other hand, Plouffe himself writes in tomorrow's Washington Post that passing health care is one of the keys to a successful showing for Dems in November:
Pass a meaningful health insurance reform package without delay. Americans' health and our nation's long-term fiscal health depend on it. I know that the short-term politics are bad. It's a good plan that's become a demonized caricature. But politically speaking, if we do not pass it, the GOP will continue attacking the plan as if we did anyway, and voters will have no ability to measure its upside. If we do pass it, dozens of protections and benefits take effect this year. Parents won't have to worry their children will be denied coverage just because they have a preexisting condition. Workers won't have to worry that their coverage will be dropped because they get sick. Seniors will feel relief from prescription costs. Only if the plan becomes law will the American people see that all the scary things Sarah Palin and others have predicted -- such as the so-called death panels -- were baseless. We own the bill and the health-care votes. We need to get some of the upside. (P.S.: Health care is a jobs creator.)
Then again, if you read between the lines, even this seems to advocate the kind of scaled-backed reform being floated late this week, not something resembling the comprehensive bills the House and Senate have passed.