Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 22

Dear Mr. President,

Paul Krugman has some very important things to say about health care in today's New York Times. I agree with his call for Congressional Democrats to "stop whining, and do what needs to be done." He says this needs to happen in the face of poor leadership from the White House. I'm not sure I agree. I thought your speech at the town hall meeting today was a clear demonstration of your commitment to the issue, but I think the State of the Union will be the real test. I don't think you should be shy about telling the American people just exactly what is holding up this reform- their congressional representatives.

Krugman's point about bipartisanship is also a valid one. Once again, the Republicans are demonstrating their superior legislative strategy. The health care reform bill is incredibly conciliatory- I'd imagine there are several moderate republicans who would support it, in principle. Unfortunately their party's goal- to prevent Democrats from appearing effective- is more important than doing right by their constituents. This is something democrats could do a better job of calling them out for. Which party is standing on principle and which is putting politics before the national interest? I don't think Democrats have communicated this well to the public.

Finally, I think that a concession to your own base is probably in order. We've been roughed up the last few weeks, the left is lacking fire and excitement. How about checking off some of the campaign promises you can do without congressional approval? Repealing DADT? making real progress towards closing Guantanamo? These may cost you political capitol with the centrists and the right wing, but it would energize your supporters and remind congressional democrats (many of whom owe their seats to your electoral coattails) that you came to Washington to do more than compromise- and so did they.

Respectfully yours,


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