In a Washington Post op-ed, Bob Dole offers advice to President Obama on how to proceed from here with health-care reform. He recommends putting together a plan that will pass with bipartisan support, which is nonsense. The Republicans have made it very clear by now that they don’t intend to help Obama pass a reform plan, and the White House has surely gotten that message.
On his main point, however, Dole is right on.
“If I were a White House adviser, I would suggest that the day Congress reconvenes, President Obama’s version of reform should be introduced by Democratic leaders in the House and Senate. Health-care reform is the vital issue of our time, and Obama should be out front with his specific plan on this make-or-break issue.
Many of us were taught that the president proposes and Congress disposes. Today, Congress is doing both — with the president relegated to the role of cheerleader in chief as he campaigns for various House committees’ efforts. Certainly, Obama supports much in these proposals — but Barack Obama is our president, not a commentator.
Obama’s approval numbers would jump 10 points if Americans knew he was fully in charge. A tactical move of introducing his own plan would also stir more Republicans to become active for reform in critical areas. Right now the president’s biggest problem is with congressional Democrats, who are split and searching for a way out of the medical wilderness.”
If Obama wants health-care reform, he’s going to have to fight hard for it. His continued credibility as a political power depends on success, which is of course exactly why the Republicans have made it a matter of party discipline to oppose him.