President Obama warned Democrats in Congress today not to "jam" a health care reform bill through now that they've lost their commanding majority in the Senate, and said they must wait for newly elected Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown to be sworn into office.
The president also said the same voter anger that swept him into office in 2008 carried Brown into office on a stunning upset victory Tuesday night over heavily favored Democrat Martha Coakley.As for Healtcare:
I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements of the package that people agree on. We know that we need insurance reform, that the health insurance companies are taking advantage of people. We know that we have to have some form of cost containment because if we don't, then our budgets are going to blow up and we know that small businesses are going to need help so that they can provide health insurance to their families. Those are the core, some of the core elements of, to this bill.It seems that Obama's new strategy is to try and co-opt the tea party movement. He is saying today's anger is the same anger that got him elected:
"Here's my assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts, but the mood around the country: the same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office," the president said in an exclusive interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos. "People are angry, they are frustrated. Not just because of what's happened in the last year or two years, but what's happened over the last eight years."Even though he insisted the Senate bill gain passage before Christmas, the president is now saying slow down:
"Here's one thing I know and I just want to make sure that this is off the table: The Senate certainly shouldn't try to jam anything through until Scott Brown is seated," the president said. "The people of Massachusetts spoke. He's got to be part of that process."Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid insisted today that the Democrats for Obamacare will move forward, but then again, they have a tin ear to the will of the public.
"We will move forward with those considerations in mind, but we will move forward," Pelosi, D-Calif., told the U.S. Conference of Mayors today. She did not specify what Plan B is. Reid would only vaguely say, "There are a lot of different options out there."Is this a legitimate step back from health care and a moderation from Barack Obama, or have the rash of Democrats who have abandoned the health care ship in the last 24 forced the president to be practical and direct his progressive agenda elsewhere? Based on his comments above and his comments over the last few days it seems that Obama is going to focus on the economy. He will try to co-opt the national anger and re-direct it toward the new bad guys, big buisness, the banking industry and the Republican party. He will try to take the wind out of the populist tea party sail by claiming to be one himself.
What ever happens, allow me to suggest that we remember what Agent Mulder of X-Files would say, "Trust No One." We need to keep the pressure on.
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey has more thoughts on these developments at HOT AIR