08/30/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Joe Klein: How Special Interests Could Block Reform

One of the most difficult things to do in a democracy is react to a problem that is real, but not immediately threatening. Obama is trying to do this in two monster areas, health care and climate change. "He's killing me," says Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, referring to the hordes of special-interest groups that have camped on her doorstep and clogged her phone lines. Stabenow is smiling as she says it. She supports the broad thrust of Obama's initiatives. "But you can't believe all the groups that want to make their case. There are the doctors, the nurses, the cancer society," she continues, raising the specter of a conga line of disease groups bending her ear. "All of them have legitimate concerns. And that's just health care."

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