Obama's First 100 Days

At a fundraiser in Denver last night, Sen. Barack Obama signaled that he would use the grace period of his first 100 days in office to push through national health insurance plan. In general, a fresh administration is given some latitude to pursue a single domestic policy goal; think of George W. Bush and No Child Left Behind -- although Democrats were a bit shell-shocked then.

Obama allies like SEIU president Andy Stern have been lobbying Obama and his aides to move quickly on health care; through his various labor-business coalitions, he wants to generate pressure on the incoming president to act, the theory being that potential opponents of the type of plan Obama will propose will be less willing to wage war against it because they favor immediate action on the general proposition that something has to be done. By putting health care reform into the 100 day period, Obama is also acknowledging that his election would not immediately clear the tracks and usher in a period of glorious liberal accomplishments; instead, he'll need this artificial booster.

So after he meets with the Joint Chief of Staff to determine a course of action in Iraq, Obama wants to "[G]et out health care plan moving. We need a bill...by March or April to get going before the political season sets in."

NB: Other Obama 100 day priorities include a "signal to the world" on energy and climate change, and a review of every Bush executive order.