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Coming Soon, Obamacare 2.0 Electric Boogaloo

Various media outlets are reporting that President Obama is going to address the joint session of Congress on September 9, one week from today to try to take charge of the health care debate. CNN Politics is reporting the following:

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: ...This will be the president's second speech to a joint session of Congress this year alone. Back in February, it was -- that speech was all about the economy. This one, of course, will be trying to sell health care reform.

Bill Clinton used this very weapon before in September 1993. Of course, that did not work out for him. And this White House is hoping, though, that they can use this tool to really grab the nation by the lapels and get a lot more specific than the president has been before. I'm told by top aides the president has been considering this option for several weeks. He finally gave the go-ahead in the last couple of days that it's time to use this option.

There have been a series of top-level meetings here at the White House today and yesterday among staff to figure -- figure out exactly what the president is going to say.

And I'm also told that next Tuesday afternoon, the president, the day before the speech, is going to host Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid here at the White House Tuesday afternoon to kind of run through the final details with them.

But what we're hearing right now is that the possibility of a public option is not completely off the table, but it's becoming less and less of an option right now, because they realize the political reality, that it would be very hard to get a public option through the Senate right now.

Henry then gives a possible playbook for what we're likely to see.

My colleague Dana Bash and I have learned from a source, each one of us, that this White House right now is very quietly in serious conversations with Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, a key moderate.

She is basically the last Republican out of those gang of six senators who have been negotiating, really the last Republican that has an open line to this White House right now.

What we're hearing that she's talking about with White House staff is sort of a scaled-back bill that would focus on insurance reforms that both sides could agree to, but would not have a full public option, instead, would have a so-called trigger. What that means in layman's terms is basically that the insurance companies would have a couple of years to make some dramatic changes.

If they do not make those changes, then a public option would be triggered. So, it would be used down the road. They would hope that this would appease liberals by saying it's not completely off the table. And the big hope is that this could bring along another moderate Republican, like maybe Susan Collins of Maine, some conservative Democrats, like Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu in the Senate, who don't want a public option, but would sort of potentially be open to a trigger like this.

If that sound familiar, it should - it's pretty much the same scenario as the GM takeover.

It should be noted that new figures today from CNN/Opinion Research Corporation show support for Obama's plan dipping below 50% for the first time.

    Aug. 28-31    July 31-Aug. 3    June 26-28

Favor 48% 50% 51%
Oppose 51% 45% 45%
No opinion 2% 5% 4%

RNC Chairman Michael Steele issued this statement, "Obviously, we want to hear what the President has to say, but the American people don't want a new speech, they want a new plan. We need to scrap the Democrats' government takeover of health care and start over on a real, bipartisan plan for reform."


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Comments (19)

"There have been a series o... (Below threshold)

"There have been a series of top-level meetings here at the White House today and yesterday among staff to figure -- figure out exactly what the president is going to say."

So The One feels the necessity for another speech, but doesn't know what he wants to say? Stand by for a sales pitch. Too bad they can't change the scenery on Capitol Hill. You know, a nice mountain top, with large pillars around an elevated platform so that Zeus can look down as he speaks to us.

Were I Peolsi and Reid, do they really want to talk about anything that mentions "trigger", given the current approval rating of Congress?

Why do I get the feeling th... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Why do I get the feeling this trigger the Obama admin will find any excuse to pull.

Olympia Snowe screws us again.

The only optional trigger t... (Below threshold)

The only optional trigger that should be involved is one located in a voting booth, it's labeled: "Out and out now," for anyone, regardless of party, that votes for a trigger in any fashion or form.

"...really grab the nati... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

"...really grab the nation by the lapels."

You've gotta love that imagery. Grab the nation by the lapels, punch it in the stomach, thoroughly rough it up and make it an offer it can't refuse - Chicago style.

"Chicago style"Nah... (Below threshold)

"Chicago style"

Nah, they'll do that in the back room. Remember Barry's comment to Democrats after the vote on Crap and Tax. "We'll remember who stood with us, and who didn't."

I'd like to see the interna... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I'd like to see the internals on that CNN poll. By what margin did they over sample democrats?

The NYT had an article about Snowe last week. (CNN still cannot find its own news) While I don't think that Snowe has any objections what-so-ever to selling the American public out, I doubt she has the courage to stand alone and do so. The point of the gang of 14 previously was that it diffused responsibility and no single person could be made to bear all the blame. Snowe will stand alone on this one. She doesn't have the courage of her convictions to do so. She lacks basic convictions in the first place.

Let me be perfectly clear..... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Let me be perfectly clear... Obama can go to the public all he wants. He's lost control of this one. When he goes on TV more and more people are tuning him out (even his supporters) and those who do listen find him less and less convincing. He has put out so much double talk and when someone finally succeeds in pinning him down he sounds far less than convincing. Like when he was pinned down on health care and would he enroll his family in a public option. The answer was no and he delivered it in such an evasive way that it looked even worse than an outright denial.

At this point he is more likely to fail reading off the teleprompter than he is to succeed. His formerly lofty sounding rhetoric is sounding more and more empty to the public. You can only say nothing for so long before everyone realizes that you are doing so. He's too evasive to sound authentic to most people.

Jim M -Fully agree... (Below threshold)

Jim M -

Fully agree - folks are recognizing him for the con artist he is. He's GREAT at short-term persuasion. Long-term? Not so much, and the more he's in the public eye unsheilded by a fawning press, the worse it gets for him. Charisma will only get you so far, and he's about tapped that for as much as he can.

The next three years are going to be interesting. His best bet (for the entire Democratic Party) would be to hunker down and darn near hide - but he's convinced we'll see things his way if he just keeps on talking... and talking... and talking... and talking... and talking... until we finally give in just to shut him up!

I agree that his best bet w... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I agree that his best bet would be to back off, but he has never, ever been in a real leadership position. He's never been in a position where he has had to find a compromise solution. I don't think he knows any other way except to keep forcing the situation until it either blows up or he wins.

In this case I think that it blows up regardless. If he wins he does so at the expense of betraying the expressed desires of a majority of the electorate. If he fails he does so after pushing the same group into obstinate opposition. I think he's already accomplished the second part frankly.

Whatever he says, he will b... (Below threshold)

Whatever he says, he will be lauded by the MSM as a'statesman', over and over again. Heck he could only say "Bippity Boppity Boo" over and over and Chris Matthews would get another thrill up his leg.

Obama will not compromise and will bring up Kennedy and 64 million without healthcare (or is it 70 million?), you can keep your plan, etc. etc. etc. All sales slogans which have failed miserably.

I wonder if that Iraqi shoe... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

I wonder if that Iraqi shoe thrower is doing anything on the 9th? Since Obama is a muslim he would surely understand the significance of that gesture.

Barry's problem is that he ... (Below threshold)

Barry's problem is that he promised too much to too many different disparate groups. He 'was all things to all people'. And he actively encouraged that, past and present. When you get down to the details, people begin to notice. And notice if they've been screwed or not. Too many have suddenly realized that they're the ones on the short end of the stick.

Barry has limited options next week. His base is the far left, although he pretends to be centrist. To maintain a majority he has to placate both sides. This is something Barry excels at, talking out of both sides of his mouth.

I'd look for him to present co-ops as a shill for the left, while taking 'single payer' off the table. Of course this changes nothing. Government will fork over $5 BILLION to get the co-ops off the ground, and a couple of years later just take them over as "they are too big to fail". He may talk about 'studying tort reform', but that will just be a wink and nudge to trial lawyers. He'll throw in portability and pre-existing coverage as a sop to conservatives.

It'll be interesting to see how many Republicans bite.

I do have a suggestion for ... (Below threshold)

I do have a suggestion for that "trigger" legislation.

The day Congress pulls the "trigger", ALL public employees, TO INCLUDE CONGRESS, are immediately enrolled in the suddenly available "public option".

Sounds fair to me.

I guess Jacksmith still bel... (Below threshold)

I guess Jacksmith still believes in the old technique of "tell the mark the same thing often enough, and you can get more money out of 'em before they wise up."

Aisle 14, jizz clean-up (ye... (Below threshold)

Aisle 14, jizz clean-up (yeccch!).

jacksmith is the ultimate m... (Below threshold)

jacksmith is the ultimate mark. Where did the education process fail this chump to the point of not understanding that profit is simply what's left after paying your bills, including those fat tax bills to uncle Sammy to keep the gummint running?

Poor simp. Let's get rid of all that nasty "DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT" everything; then we can all share a common health care system, just like North Korea! Of course, the ruling class will still have the best of everything...

I am tired of seeing that s... (Below threshold)

I am tired of seeing that same POS message about a corrupt republican being responsible for the Depression and the great FDR saving them. There is no consensus on exactly why or how it happened. There were market panics many times before the actual Depression happened.

The whole thing gets looked at through they prism of personal politics. The point being facts show that the Republicans had nothing to do with the fall except for not regulating, and the Democrats likely extended the Depression with government programs and spending when they should have let the market correct itself. However The Voting Poor didn't want to wait that long and so Hoover was out and FDR was in.

Keynsian Economics is at fault for dragging the Depression out, just as it will be for dragging out recovery from this recession. Trickle Down worked for JFK and for Reagan.

JFK did it by lowering taxes on business if they invested and only if they invested in the market stemming the economy from the top down. The bottom up approach has never worked, all it does it promote a me-me-me attitude in the poor and when the "stimulus" or "rebate" checks run out they are still poor because business is still going to crap and not hiring.

I'm off track but the frickin depression argument sets me off. Sorry.

Almost forgot :"Pr... (Below threshold)

Almost forgot :

"Profit" is a dirty word only to the leeches of the world. They want it seen as evil, so they can more easily snatch what they did not earn.

Whatta ya know. Jack Straw... (Below threshold)

Whatta ya know. Jack Straw reads Krugman. Explains all the bull shit in his post.






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