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In Case of Blitzkrieg, Employ Triage

John on May 27, 2009 at 8:15 am

triage1President Obama has demanded three things before the August Congressional Recess. He wants Judge Sotomayor confirmed. He wants a cap-and-trade energy bill. And lastly, he wants universal health reform. If that sounds like a lot to accomplish in eight weeks, well…that’s no accident:

Senior Obama aides tell The Daily Beast that the network, which revolutionized fundraising and online political networking during the 2008 campaign, will be an important factor in a series of high-profile struggles unfolding over the next two months. Besides the Supreme Court fight, the senior aides say they expect to bring universal health-care to the president’s desk, while simultaneously making significant progress on global-warming legislation, including a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases.

All three initiatives would move ahead before Congress disappears for its month-long August recess, and all three face intense opposition from a conservative movement desperately seeking to rally its own supporters.

The revival of Obama’s grassroots machine represents not only an effort to neutralize any Republican onslaught, but also something of a diversionary tactic. By drawing fire to its Supreme Court nominee, Obama’s aides believe that health-care and environmental politics may face less-intense opposition.

As Gabe notes over at Ace’s place, Obama is already moving his pawns up the board for a big push on health care in ten days:

So when Obama sends an email to all his Obamatons that “On June 6th, in thousands of homes across the country, we’ll gather to launch our grassroots campaign for health care,” he has completely missed the point. He (and, never forget, his minders) want the media to report that this is a grassroots movement because that type of thing sounds good on TV.

Conservatives have been back on their heels as a result of Obama’s blitzkrieg of massive new legislation. It’s time to face facts. We aren’t going to win all these battles. In fact, we aren’t going to win any of them unless we make some tough decisions now.

When in battle, doctors are forced to make decisions based on triage, i.e. who is beyond hope, who can be saved if focused upon, and who can be stabilized and therefore wait until later. Let’s apply that to the three items on Obama’s agenda.

  • DOA: Sotomayor is a losing issue for Republicans who look mean attacking a woman and racist attacking a Hispanic. The media will also jump on the hypocrisy angle. Olbermann was already running clips of Republicans decrying the filibustering of nominations (in 2005) last night. Bottom line, she’s one liberal replacing another. Let her pass. Earn some political capital with an orderly confirmation process that can then be spent opposing other Obama priorities.
  • Stabilize and Wait: Cap-and-trade is a disaster. It’s going to have plenty of natural opposition in the country if there is enough oxygen in the news cycle to cover it. If Republicans are engaged in a high-profile court battle, there won’t be. The best strategy is to try and force the President to wait on this one. Make the entirely plausible claim that other priorities, such as Sotomayor’s confirmation and health care, are paramount before the recess. In addition to putting this battle off for a time when it can get the media attention it deserves, Republicans can also rob the President of the only possible way he has to pay for his health care priority. Republicans win on this, but only if they make Obama wait.
  • Into the Operating Room, With You: The real focus this Summer should beĀ  opposition to the “public option” portion of the health care bill. Universal coverage is a fait accompli at this point, and there’s some reason to think that might be a good thing for the country. But Republicans need to go in an surgically remove the public option, which is a) a back door to single-payer and b) the creation of a costly Medicare clone, i.e. the program that is currently bankrupting the country at a furious rate.

If Republicans are smart (and sometimes they are), they’ll apply a triage strategy to Obama’s Summer agenda. Let Sotomayor pass. Make Obama wait on energy. And starting now, focus energy on removing the “public option” shrapnel from the body politic. This is a plan that can succeed. Let’s move…stat!

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Category: Health & Education |

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