Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Obama health care summit good TV but bad policy

with 2 comments

There was a time not so long ago that presidents were leaders, and those leaders had accountability for what they did. Oh sure, there was politics at work. Economic numbers would be manipulated. Or time would pass, presenting a different picture as to how a president did.

Now what we have for presidential leadership is when there is a crisis, we get commissions and summits. And even worse, this “pass-the-buck” system isn’t even meant to accomplish the task at hand.

You might think I’m subtly talking about the health care summit this week with President Obama, and top Democratic and Republican leaders. But this issue goes much further back.

There was a hint of this during the Clinton Administration, but given how much Clinton actually got done, faulting him isn’t the best route. But he did like to hide behind the concept.

The 9/11 Commission was a classic example of this style of leadership. There were numerous mistakes. So instead of an investigation or some other inquiry or dare we say — accountability, we get a commission. And even when that is all done, we still don’t have an accounting of what happened, and what we can do to fix this.

I’ve blamed this in the past on Baby Boomer leadership, where we have the image of leading without the actual leadership. In that sense, George W. Bush was the perfect person to play the president. After all, nothing was ever his fault.

The good news is that Barack Obama has understood that a president has to show some accountability. Unfortunately, Obama seems just as eager to hide behind the skirts of a commission or summit.

Want to reduce the deficit? Fix health care? Get a commission or a summit, and we’ll solve the problem.

Uh, no.

What the United States needed in early 2009 was someone who wasn’t a Baby Boomer — Obama was born in what is considered Gen X material (1961) even if it falls in the Baby Boomer birth pattern — with a new sense of active leadership. Borrowing anything from Bush seemed to be a bad idea, but Obama can’t resist.

If you have lost your health care in the last 6 months, you have been affected by what President Obama has done, or not done. And voters in 2010 are going to reflect that impression.

Unfair? Perhaps. But Americans voted for strong leadership in 2008. The fact that Democrats finally understand that reconciliation might be what passes a health care bill — and there is still reason for that to be screwed up — is very much too little and definitely too late.

There was recent speculation that Obama might be a good candidate for the Supreme Court once his time as president is over. But while he is still president, Obama needs to be a little less judicial and more presidential.

Leadership isn’t launching an useless commission or summit; leadership is about answers. The MSM does a lousy job by focusing on winners and losers instead of spending time on how to improve policy. George W. Bush adapted his style to how the MSM would approach him, and the MSM treated him with extra care.

When Obama tries the same approach, he doesn’t get the same treatment. In his defense, some of that is because Obama is trying to get something done. The health care summit was a classic example of what the MSM loves, and what is bad for America.

People are suffering right now; they need help. And we need presidential leadership. President Obama would do the people well if he would speak up for what is wrong and what to do to fix it. We are a year behind on a problem that was in bad shape in 1994. Step up to the plate, forget about the commissions, and do the job Americans want you to do.

Spell out what you want, tell us why it’s a good idea, and we’ll put the pressure on Congress that you don’t seem to want to do. Give the voters some credit; they elected you to take charge. Let’s start the process.

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2 Responses

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  1. Gotta love the effort you put into this blog 🙂

    Suzanna Pellecchia

    March 6, 2010 at 4:23 am

  2. […] Obama health care summit good TV but bad policy […]


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