While supporters are trying desperately to figure out how to pass health-care reform, I have to wonder: What planet is Obama on? He acts as if being a cheerleader on the sidelines is going to get health-care reform passed, seemingly oblivious to the very real problems that are holding it up:
In his rallying cry to a crowd of cheering supporters on Thursday, Mr. Obama described, in the clearest terms yet, his vision of how to enact comprehensive health legislation: House and Senate Democrats would resolve their differences and decide on a “final bill.” They would then invite “our Republican friends to present their ideas.” The president would convene a meeting of Democrats, Republicans and health care experts to debate the proposals, in plain-spoken terms, for the benefit of the American people.
Then, Mr. Obama said, “we have got to move forward on a vote.”
The president did not say how he would resolve the knotty questions of policy, procedure and politics facing Congress.
A senior Democrat aide who has worked intensely on the legislation described party leaders as circling a traffic rotary, over and over, looking for a road forward but unable so far to pick a path.
“We’re still going around the circle,” said this aide, who asked not to be identified while discussing the Democrats’ internal debate. “You run out of gas at some point.”
In other news, Chris Bowers writes about a conference call with Health Care for America Now director Richard Kirsch yesterday afternoon. Kirsch unveiled plans to get supporters to take part in one final push on healthcare reform, noting there were no longer enough votes to pass the public option through reconciliation:
1. House should pass Senate bill with a pledge from the Senate to fix it in reconciliation. Senator Franken talked of "pledge and pass," which means the House needs to pass the Senate bill with a pledge from the Senate that it will be fixed in reconciliation. This is somewhat in conflict with Speaker Pelosi's statement that the Senate must actually pass a reconciliation bill before the House acts at all. A pledge alone isn't good enough for the House. Franken stated that he also thought the Senate bill needed to be improved, but that "the perfect--and we all have different ideas of what perfect is--shouldn't be the enemy of the very good."
2. Into the streets to create political will. The second part of the strategy is to make enough noise through protests, rallies, letters to the editor, and calls to Congress to create enough pressure for Congress to pass health care.
So please don't stop. If we want any movement at all, we need to get behind this bill.