Another reader throws up her hands:
This is yet another email from an Obama supporter who has lost all hope. I will no longer vote in national elections, because it is clear to me now that my vote for president or senator are worthless. A handful of morons in (insert a state here) invalidate my choice because the Senate is ruled by 5-6 Senators that refuse to face tough choices that need to be made to avoid a financial catastrophe in 10 years. There will be NO health care bill passed and the raging idiots will blame the Democrats and vote the Republicans in a landslide in November 2010. Forget about the REALLY tough problems like the debt, Social Security, moving away from our dependence on foreign energy supplies, etc. If Congress can't get it's collective shit together to pass a bill that attempts to fix a problem EVERYONE agrees on, then all hope is lost.
Obama can't change this. The country has exactly the government it deserves: fat, stupid and lazy. Built to respond to the 24-hour news cycle and a singular goal of protecting seats in the next election. Obama is a one termer. I hate writing that, but it's true. Republicans will put up some populist puff piece in 2012 and he's going to win.
For what it's worth, I'm not. And for what it's worth, I beg you not to be.
We supported Obama precisely because he was trying to combat this system, to attempt governance that was not hostage to news-cycle Rovian politics. And this he has tried to do, operating within a system that is the one we have, in a climate that the last four decades has created. He has achieved, despite the carping on the left and rage on the right, many good things. Health insurance reform is one of the toughest. And the more I have studied this subject, the more sensible the Senate bill actually appears - given the exigencies of the system and the economic distress of the moment.
I don't think ramming the Senate bill through the House and trying to get through reconciliation will work. I do think Obama has a golden opportunity at his SOTU to do what he did last September, and patiently explain why some reform is necessary, that he is open to constructive criticism, but that he was elected to get difficult things done. What he needs to do politically is expose the vacuity of the opposition, by hanging back a little and letting their politics of no and never sink in. If he can credibly explain how he will bring the budget back to balance, and how healthcare reform is actually partly a means to do this, he can regain the initiative.
This is the GOP's high water-mark. They have abdicated any responsibility to tackle the problems we all acknowledge, while indulging in extremist rhetoric. They live for the spin and the rage. So this is the moment they have been waiting for. Most Americans don't think this way. They are legitimately worried that health reform is too costly right now. They're wrong if we find the will in the coming years to ensure that the Medicare cuts are real and the cost controls are followed up. And we need to do our part in persuading them.
This is not over. In some ways, it is only just beginning.
Which is why Obama needs us breathing down his neck, and galvanizing support for necessary reform - now, more than in the campaign. If we give up, we will be copying the hysteria and nihilism of the right. Do not give up. Focus. Argue. Mobilize.
Yes. We. Can.