A last thought for today on the health care legislation, this from Dan Balz in the Washington Post. I found it very interesting and perceptive. I don't generally mean this blog to be so focused on politics, but this issue is just too big and fascinating to let go.
But then I saw this comment under the article and thought I would share it with you, as also being a really interesting view. I don't know the author. I shared the post with friends who join me in really wanting a health care bill and really wanting the President to be successful, and they thought that AOS1 had nailed at least part of the problem.
I like this column, but I'd go one step further to say that what we are seeing on the health care debate is the inevitable extension of a character trait of President Obama's -- one that has served him well before, but isn't serving him well now.
"Barry" Obama, Candidate Obama, Senator Obama and President Obama have all been particularly effective active listeners. By facial expression, body language, and in his responses, he comes across as someone who is genuinely (and I don't doubt his sincerity) listening to what you have to say. In responding, though, the active listener is usually trying to convey that he/she has heard and understood what you said -- not necessarily what his/her own position is.
As a result, Obama has always struck me as something of a Rorshach test -- love him or hate him, you could see in him what you wanted to see. That's great for getting votes, not so great when you are leader of the Free World. On healthcare, that means left wing Democrats could see the avatar who'd bring about single payor (or darn close), and right wing Republicans could see a big-government loving socialist.
The truth is somewhere in between, as is the bill that President Obama would ultimately like to sign. To get to that bill he needs to develop a short list of items that explains the tangible benefits -- I agree with your column. But he also can't continue to allow people to believe what they want to believe about his position. He needs to affirmatively state what his position, and correct those (on both sides of the debate) who continue to see what they want to see.
The health care bill can't be a thousand page ink blot.