Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Right where he wants us

This is either going to look really stupid or really prescient, starting tomorrow, but I feel comfortable saying that Obama's going to win big on health care reform. The end game begins with his speech to a joint session of Congress tomorrow, and the end game ends when he signs a $1 trillion+, massive expansion of coverage, some form of public option, iterative overhaul of health care reform.

Why do I feel so confident? Partly because the Baucus Bill being circulated was always going to be the worst-case scenario (i.e., there's no way nothing will get passed, so something has to, and the Baucus-led Gang of Six was expected to, and has, produced the least-objectionable bill out of any of the relevant Congressional committees.) And it turns out that the Baucus Bill, which will only be improved (from a liberal perspective) isn't even that bad. $900 billion and a massive expansion of coverage would have been an overwhelming victory for the Left in any of the last several decades.

But even more than that, I'm confident because I've been here before. All through the campaign, the same pattern repeated itself: Obama campaign ignores the day-to-day; looks distant and absent from the political arena; conservatives win short-term victory after short-term victory; liberals get more and more anxious with Obama; and then, boom! When it actually matters - on primary days, late in the Fall of 2008 and then on November 4th - the plan that the Obama folks carefully prepared, above the shrieking din of the daily press riot, comes to glorious, victorious fruition. And the exact same thing is happening now: it couldn't matter less what happens in August of an off-year. But it does matter what happens now, and all the way up until a bill, the bill, is voted on.

And so now, to pardon the sports analogy, we have the star player coming off the bench, his team maybe down a point or two but still very much in it without the help of the greatest player in his generation, getting ready to play for an arena that will determine the fate of his entire career, his legacy, and we should be worried that he's not gonna pull it out? When the Bulls were down by 2 at the end of the 3rd quarter, did anyone say, "Sure, they've got Michael Jordan coming off the bench, but it's too late - they're fucked?"

Or did they say, "It's over - you've got to be leading by more than that when MJ gets back in the game."