Presidents generally start thinking about their legacy in the months before their terms end. In the case of Barack Obama, his self-absorption began shortly after his election (well, it actually probably began shortly after birth, but I have no information about that period of his life…). He has thrived on the cult of personality that developed around him during his campaign and thereafter. He’s addicted to adoration. And like most addicts, he must feed his addiction. Unfortunately for the United States, he’s feeding it at our expense, and the latest example is his fixation on destroying “transforming” the health care system.
Maybe he started off with good intentions – after all, leftists like him really do believe that their warped ideology is good for humanity. And there actually are aspects of the health care system that can use some attention, such as malpractice/tort reform and how to deal with the truly uninsured (forget the 46M myth). But considering the abject failure of his economic strategy, the reaction to his total screwup in the Henry Louis Gates situation, and the impending demise of cap-and-trade, he needs a victory – desperately. His reputation as the savior of the nation, and his standing with his acolytes depend on it. And the polls leave no doubt that he’s on a losing streak.
Charles Krauthammer, one of the most brilliant political commentators in the business right now, completely nails the current state of Obama’s healthcare dilemma. It’s all about the O:
The president is therefore understandably eager to make this a contest between progressive Democrats and reactionary Republicans. He seized on Republican senator Jim DeMint’s comment that stopping Obama on health care would break his presidency to protest, with perfect disingenuousness, that “this isn’t about me. This isn’t about politics.”
It’s all about him. Health care is his signature reform. And he knows that if he produces nothing, he forfeits the mystique that both propelled him to the presidency and has sustained him through a difficult first six months. Which is why Obama’s red lines are constantly shifting. Universal coverage? Maybe not. No middle-class tax hit? Well, perhaps, but only if they don’t “primarily” bear the burden. Because it is about him, Obama is quite prepared to sign anything as long as it is titled “health-care reform.”
If Obama doesn’t get a win on health care, what’s left of his support will tank rapidly. His minions will realize that he’s NOT The One we’ve been waiting for, and the polls will go into free fall.
The entirety of Krauthammer’s article deserves a close read, so I’ll simply stop there and say “amen, brother.”