President Barack Obama will address a joint session of Congress on health care reform in prime time on Wednesday, Sept. 9, a senior official tells POLITICO.
Obama will receive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at the White House the day before for a previously scheduled sit-down.
To put this into perspective the last time a president addressed a joint session of Congress outside of a State of the Union was on September 20th, 2001. So, essentially, the president is saying this is as important as the attacks of 9/11. It had better be. If not, the public will really turn on him. This appears to be a move full of hubris and narcissism and so he had better come up with something outstanding. He's already held as many prime time press conferences in seven months as Bush did in two terms. Now, he's addressing the joint session of Congress, normally meant for extraordinary situations, to pitch health care reform. This smells of political desperation and narcissism. He'd better prove me wrong because if not, his presidency will be hit for a very long time.
The ratings show that the people are getting tired of seeing the president. His last press conference got worse ratings than the Philanthropist. That's not a good sign. So, if this speech doesn't say something markedly different than we have heard, the president is through for a long time.
The folks are getting tired and resentful of the president constantly demanding prime time air time. So far, he's said nothing of interest. If he says the same old same old, the public will have had enough. His ratings are cratering. Polling for the health care bill is cratering.
As such, we had all better hear something earth shattering next Wednesday. The folks had better hear exactly how this bill will save money, provide better coverage, and why we must do it now. If we don't, cable access will get better ratings than his next prime time outing.
I understand the president will try and link health care reform to Ted Kennedy's death. For his sake, let's hope not. If that's the tact he takes, he might be the first president to have 20% approval ratings in the first year.
I don't know what the president will do. If I gave him advice, I would tact to the middle. I would drop the public option. I would have a bill that focused on tort reform, health savings accounts, and moving people away from employer funded health insurance. Personally, I don't think he'll convince the public that his plan will save money and provide better service unless he does these things.
If he simply re frames the same arguments, his entire agenda is through. Republicans will control both houses of Congress after the next election, and he'll be forced to tack to the middle. The president is way low on chips and he's gone all in. For his sake, this speech had better be the speech of his life. If not, his presidency is effectively over until after November 2010.