Waiting for Obama


Politico reports on the timeline for healthcare reform:

Democrats have blown so many deadlines for getting health reform done this year that insiders are increasingly skeptical they can finish by year’s end — and some even suggest the effort might slip to a new deadline, before the State of the Union address.

….In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid is still wrangling with his moderate members to corral 60 votes just to get the debate started. And on Monday, Reid sent a letter to Republicans acknowledging that he is waiting on the Congressional Budget Office’s cost estimates and analysis to finish drafting a bill….Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad said he spoke with CBO Director Doug Elmendorf last week and that it sounded like “it would be quite a while” before the estimates were ready. The news makes a Christmas completion “a challenge,” Conrad said.

Regular reader RPH emails in response:

Was talking to some of the local Democratic Party organizers in Lancaster County, Virginia, aka my parents, and the feedback they hear is that Obama is quickly coming to be viewed as a ditherer, unable to timely make decisions or close the deal.  That he doesn’t seem strong enough to push key programs through, etc.  This is the backdrop for why so many Ds in Va this year seem apathetic about voting.  Lancaster is also fairly conservative so I think many Ds are just parroting what their R friends keep spouting, I’m sure, with increasing volume, with the reality being the economy which is devastating that area of Virginia.  For what it’s worth, everyone is extremely frustrated by the Ds poor showing in Va this year.

But still.

O needs to get some big things under his belt and soon.  If he can get Afghanistan off his plate, that might buy him some time on Health Care without running the risk of a dangerous loss of momentum.  But right now, every thing seems stuck in an endless loop.  Part of this is the media cycle of course, but that’s unfortunately the reality of governing now — where the steady perception of action, decisiveness and competence are key.

Is RPH right?  Is this soon to become the new conventional wisdom?  I certainly don’t blame Obama for healthcare, where his leverage to kick the Senate into action is limited, but even I’m getting a little antsy about Afghanistan.  Yeah, I want him to get it right, but there’s a limit to how long this stuff can stay simmering on the cooktop.

Anyway, I’m only passing this along, not really endorsing any of it.  Just some raw data to chew over.