THE BLOG
11/08/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Mr. President, You Can Act Like A Man. Yes You Can.

JOHNNY FONTAINE: I don't know what to do... I don't know what to do...
VITO CORLEONE: YOU CAN ACT LIKE A MAN! What's the matter with you?! Is this how you turned out? A Hollywood finocchio that ah cries like a woman? Boo hoo hoo, what can I do...

Watching the health care debate, sometimes it seems to me that Barack Obama has become The Godfather's Johnny Fontaine, the former Golden Boy heartthrob, now beaten down and weakened, and seemingly sapped of his resolve. And, too often, I feel like lashing out like Vito Corleone.

Now, I won't say I'd slap the President, a la The Godfather, but I will say this: Mr. President, man up already.

Enough of this crawling back to every Republican in so-called moderate gangs and begging them to give you a chance. What are we at now? Grassley. Enzi. Snowe? Olympia freaking Snowe is going to get to dictate to you what the biggest and possibly last reform of the health care system of our time is going to look like? Olympia Snowe? That's funny, because I just reviewed my ballot for last year, and I don't remember voting for Olympia Snowe.

Enough of a new message everyday on where you stand. For the public option, against the public option, maybe for the public option but not necessarily against getting rid of the public option. Publicly for an option, optionally against it not in public. No wonder polls are saying people increasingly are losing confidence in your ability to get it right on this issue, your administration is more head-spinning than four old Jews at a deli trying to convey an order.

And, what, Max Baucus gets to tell you what he wants, too? Him and his millions in health industry campaign cash?

Yes, Barack Obama, it's time to start acting like a man, already, and gain control of your administration and the rogue corporatists in your own party.

I don't just mean giving a speech to Congress to lay out your principles. Screw generalities, already. And, I don't mean laying out things you want in the bill that aren't at issue. Seriously, it's not leadership to go to Congress and say you must have a bill that does away with 'preexisting conditions' as a reason to deny care. Everyone agrees on that point. Really, that's about as much leadership as me marching into Hooters and demanding that men should get to see more boobs and eat more wings.

No, it's time for you to lay down the gauntlet, and demand the reforms - including a robust public option - that will once and for all break the collusion among the insurance providers to extort people for all they're worth.

Oh, Ben Nelson doesn't like that? Then buzz his top five individual donors who also gave to you, and tell them to make a call, urging him. If he still won't bend, you tell them that they're not to give Ben Nelson another dime. He's cut off.

Blanche Lincoln is worried that voting for a public option will hurt her reelection efforts in Northwest Arkansas? Be nice, and offer to ensure Federal funds to get that shiny new convention center and business development district, or whatever the hell it is they want badly down there, to help soften the blow. If she still waivers? Then offer to call up the Democrat-Gazette and tip off a reporter that she screwed the region out of a badly desired project. See if she thinks voting for a better health insurance system is really that much a problem, then.

That's how you get it done.

Remember, Mr. President, like the corporatists say you'll never get a public option, Jack Woltz said Johnny Fontaine would never get that part. Boy, how quickly things changed when he woke up next to the bloody head of his beloved horse, Khartoum.