The New York Times is reporting on-line that the Obama's vaunted public option is DOA, and that is in the context of his speech to Congress next Wednesday. That would be wonderful political theatre, for sure: The Obama, the candidate of hope and aspiration, crawls to Capitol Hill and tells a joint session of Congress, "I wasn't really serious about that public option stuff. We can leave it to the insurance companies who have driven us to this sorry state to drive us out again--as long we are nice to them and provide them with guidelines we'll let them write. In the meantime, we'll cut Medicare spending through technology. "
I've been muttering for a few weeks that the Obama is an inspiration, not a leader. Without pleasure, I can say it increasingly appears I was right. He still has the ability to surprise, to deliver a forceful, clear statement of principle: Everyone is entitled to healthcare. A bold, simple, comprehensive program: Here's how we will expand Medicare to cover all. A guarantee of treatment. A cost comparison to prove the economy of his program. And then say, if the Republicans have a better plan in all regards, let them put it forward now, knowing full well that they don't have a plan and won't.