President Obama needs to make a major adjustment with his speech this Wednesday. However there are some basic things that he should do that will win over everyone.
1) Tell the Congress to make the bill much less lengthy.
Listen to the people. No one thought the 1017 page house bill was just the right size. Tell the Congress that they need to write a bill in 250 pages or less. That still gives them plenty of space. Then, it doesn't become overwhelming to read. This is one of those things that infuriates the voters more than anything. When a bill is 1017 pages long, that's a breakdown in the process. It's not excusable or acceptable. Two hundred pages or less is all any bill should need for a sensible health care reform package.
2) Demand that the language become much simpler.
Anyone who has attempted to read any part of this bill knows that it's incomprehensible. I once remarked that if anyone ever had any trouble sleeping a good way to knock yourself out is to turn to any page of the bill and simply begin reading. You'll be out in no more than five minutes. This is another sign of a break down in the process. If a bill is incomprehensible it was written correctly.
3) End the drama over the public option
I am an opponent and even I am tired of the soap opera that is the public option. You have to end it that night. If you walk away from that speech and no one still knows what the final verdict is on the public option, then the whole speech is moot. The whole bill changes depending on what the final outcome is. It's become the lightning rod so the president needs to make a decision and be prepared to defend it. It's his choice to make but he has to make one.
4) Liberal doesn't work.
If the president can't see that the uproar over this bill is ultimately due to its liberal nature. It's just that simple. If the President thinks he can try and reframe a largely liberal bill, he's simply out of his mind. If the bill is still a massive expansion of government without a reasonable idea of what the cost is and how it will be payed for, the speech is really ultimately worthless. He has to moderate the bill in a massive way. It's just that simple. It's reflected in the polls, in his approvals, the town hall demonstrations, and the massive displays of outrage at Obama's policies that have gone on since the end of February (the first coordinated Tea Parties). So, he's simply banging his head against the wall if that's the rout he wants to go.
In order to change the momentum, he needs something that will change the dynamics in a real way. Moderating the bill is just that dynamic breaker. It's great politics. It's these moments that define a president. All presidents take beatings from time to time. The key is how they respond. If he doesn't respond by understanding what it was that put him in a rut, he'll never succeed in his presidency. It's blatantly obvious that the liberalism embedded in the bill is soundly being rejected. He has no choice but to moderate. Let's see if he does it.
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