On August 26th I wrote the following:
Obama needs to accept that voters elected him president and gave Democrats congressional majorities to bring about change and not be a bunch of weak-kneed, spineless namby-pambys who still fantasize about bi-partisanship. The president needs to grow some balls and start acting a little Bush-like in pushing through his agenda. It's time to stop singing Kumbaya.
So here's some advice to Obama on how and where he needs to get tough:
1. Health care: stop pussyfooting around while conservatives destroy your reform bill. Get on the tube in a primetime address to the nation and forcefully dispel the myths being perpetrated by disingenuous Republicans. Look straight into the camera and tell Americans that they are being lied to...Get tough, dammit!
And that's exactly what President Obama did in his Wednesday night address to Congress to spell out the details of his health-care reform bill.
"The game is over," he warned his opponents. The speech was brilliantly crafted, forcefully delivered and very specific about the benefits and the costs, while also dispelling the "bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost."
The President aggressively addressed Republicans' deceptive rhetoric head on:
-On the death panel claim: "It is a lie, plain and simple"
-On providing health care for illegal aliens: lie
-On federal dollars used to fund abortions: lie
-On being forced to change insurance companies: lie
-On reducing medicare benefits: lie
-On increasing the deficit: lie
-On government taking over the entire health-care system: lie
While he gave serious props to Republican Sens. John McCain, Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley for their bi-partisan efforts with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy to provide health insurance to children, the disabled and to create a patients' bill of rights, Obama made it very clear that he will not allow the nattering naybobs of negativism on the right to derail health-care reform. "Not this time," he said. He wisely spent much time speaking directly to the American public, in particular independents and seniors (key groups in next year's midterm elections), stood his ground on the 'public option' and assured them he'll deliver on the promise of change on which they elected him.
To be sure, the days and weeks ahead are going to be critical for Obama, as he'll now likely begin a massive private White House campaign to woo moderate and conservative Democrats to support his plan. As for Republicans, who during Obama's speech sat stone-faced, angry and dismissive (i.e. Rep. Eric Cantor (Va) with his head buried in his Blackberry), they've just heard the last note of Kumbaya...
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