The Bill Obama Promised

Well, almost. Ezra notes how the final bill is remarkably similar to the plan Obama outlined in his campaign. If you recall the mandate debate in the primaries, it's moved a little to the left, although the death of the public option moved it back again a little to the right. I certainly regard the passage of the health insurance reform bill to be another victory of strategy over tactics. In his first year, Obama will have achieved something that no previous Democrat had managed: universal health insurance. This will be spun away by some. And maybe the infuriated left-liberals and the angry right-oppositionists will get some temporary respite from that. But guess what? He did it. It was as grueling a victory as the one in the primaries, and took even longer. But it was a victory, a substantive, enduring legislative victory the like of which no president has achieved since Reagan.

It will have to be tweaked, as Reagan's tax cuts were. But like that first year triumph, it will last. For good or ill. And unlike tax cuts announced as pain-free, this was a clearly budgeted, deeply difficult, legislatively complex operation. The only Pyrrhic part of it is the GOP's celebration of its opposition. Their glee is premature.