After Obama's Sunday media blitz and last night's Letterman session, everyone is wondering, "Did he save health care reform?" Fair question
. But it's not a new one--pundits have been convinced that health care reform is on death's doorstep and in need of rescue from the moment it was introduced. With the Baucus bill headed for markup and Olympia Snowe making encouraging noises, maybe it's time to quit asking "Who can save health care?" Herewith, a compendium of health care saviors.
- Pelosi and Hoyer On June 10th, Politico's Patrick O'Connor and Chris Frates wrote: "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer are double-teaming powerful chairmen and rank-and-file members to save health care reform from a repeat of the Democratic Party infighting that helped kill it in 1994."
- Centrist Democrats On June 22nd, Nancy L. Cohen at the Huffington Post said: "Although an overwhelming majority supports the public plan, a handful of 'Centrist' Congressional Democrats have promised to save health care reform by killing the public option."
- Michelle Obama On June 23rd, Congress Quarterly's David Corn titled a post "Can Michelle Obama Save Health Care Reform?" and wondered "whether Michelle Obama can help her husband sell the health care bill now under construction in Congress."
- Ron Wyden Okay, Wyden was only anointed a semi-savior. But on July 16th, in a post titled "The Idea That Could Save Health Care, "Ezra Klein wrote: "I don't want to overstate my case. I am not suggesting that Sen. Ron Wyden's Free Choice Act is the difference between a health-care reform bill passing the Senate and dying in committee. But I am arguing that it might be the difference between a bill that delivers on its promise of reforming the health-care system and a bill that merely expands health insurance coverage."
- You (Possibly) On July 28th, The Huffington Post's Bill Scher suggested readers themselves save health care by taking action: "Step 1. Put your elected representatives' phone numbers on your speed dials and cell phone address books. You can get their phone numbers at House.gov and Senate.gov. Step 2. Tell the receptionist you are a constituent, and you want the congressperson to support your issue.
- GOP Stupidity On August 8th, John Aravosis found a silver lining in the GOP's incompetence: "Possibly the only thing that might save health care reform is just how inept the enemy really is. ... David Brooks just called Sarah Palin and the GOP leadership 'crazies' for espousing the notion that Obama's health care plan will establish death panels that will decide which citizens will be euthanized. That won't go over very well in crazy land."
- God 8/21/09 James Caroll at the Daily Beast evokes the high holy one in his post on Obama's Ten Commandments citation in a speech to liberal faith group leaders. He says, "To cite the Ten Commandments is an all but explicit claiming of God as an ally, the Commandment-Giver-in-Chief. That Obama’s antagonists are bearing false witness means that they are not just liars, but sinners. In the American religion wars, good move."
- Ted Kennedy On August 26th, reacting to news of Kennedy's death, New York Magazine's Dan Amira wondered if the event itself could "could save health care reform" by fostering "a new, temporary climate of bi-partisan cooperation." Gawker's Pareene concurred a day later: "It might be crass to ask, but will the death of Ted Kennedy help health care reform, what Kennedy called 'the cause of my life'? Yes, probably."
- "Change" On September 3rd, the Daily Beast's Paul Begala decred that during the next day's address to Congress "to save health-care reform, Obama needs to ditch cool logic and revert to his fiery campaign message: change."
- More Cowbell On September 4th, Jonah Goldberg at the National Review Online, while not exactly rooting for a happy outcome, turned ironic in his search for a savior, with a classic Saturday Night Live reference: "His July 22 press conference was billed as perhaps Obama’s last chance to save health-care reform. It tanked....Now, more than a month later, things look even worse. The obvious solution? Even more cowbell."
There are plenty more saviors--trust us--but we'll give Jonah the last word for now.
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
krust at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.