If the bankers' bail-out had been used to create more American jobs, universal health-care might still be a viable option in the United States. Then it wouldn't matter how much Democrats bicker and wheedle among themselves, there would still be a 60-40 split. President Obama then could accomplish what his party has being trying to do again and again for 70 years.
For the same price of generations of debt that the various bail-outs cost, each American might have been given a million dollars to bail himself out, and there would be many more contented democrats today even in Massachusetts.
The President pushed health care hard and fast, understanding that a window had opened and that there may never be another chance to act on the issue. By itself, the passage of health care would have been a symbol of an effective presidency, and it might have helped Democrats gain the momentum and unity to do the 'other hard things,' all the things that have been postponed by expediency and bought-and-paid-for politicians unwilling to oppose big business to do anything difficult.
The Democrats are the party that promises to do these things, 'not because they are easy, but because they are hard.' But when they have the opportunity, their divisiveness prevents them from framing effective legislation. They bicker like a barnyard full of roosters. They can't get it done.
Obama must move quickly now to avoid becoming Jimmy Carter. But even now the question is open as to whether Democrats can read the anger in America's suburbs well enough to unify and act. In little over a year, they have squandered the disillusionment and discontent with the non-leadership of George Bush (the lesser one). They've also squandered the popularity Obama brought to office and handed to them to accomplish their goal.
The hopes for all the major Democratic reforms that America needs have now effectively ended for yet another generation. The dream, as Ted Kennedy himself might say, 'never dies' but it continuously postponed because the party that has custody of the dream can never - and I mean never - get it together.
Well, what can a poor boy do? Obama needs to draw them together and focus on jobs. Americans, those who vote, have lost their jobs, and houses and families. They had bad Christmases and they're looking for relief. Their desperation is nearly as great as the people of Haiti since this spiral of decline has been going on for over two years now. The wings and engines have been ripped off the plane. The plane itself is in flames and the passengers have just lost faith in their pilot's ability to land the thing well enough so they can walk out alive. This kind of anger and fear isn't going to go away. You can stir it up and redirect it and turn it into hope for the brief space of an election, but after winning the election you have to deliver on the promise to end the fear.
Only jobs will do that, Mr. President. Stop everything else and focus on the personal financial well-being of your constituents. If they believe you're doing that you'll get a second mandate and maybe a second chance to accomplish all the ambitious things you set out to do. But if they don't believe in you, you're toast. Nothing will get accomplished in the next years, a Republican - SARAH PALIN? - will be elected in 2012 and China will become the economic leader of the world.