Does Obama’s healthcare victory point to future legislative strategy?
When President Barack Obama signed healthcare reform into law today, was he also endorsing the preferred White House strategy for legislation to come?
After months of political wrangling and face-reddening rhetoric all around, Obama’s sweeping overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system became reality without a single Republican voting for it.
Democrats say that’s because the Republicans want to render Obama’s presidency a failure. They point to a recently published account of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s strategic game plan to deny Democrats any support on big legislation.
Meanwhile, Obama has seized upon the virtue of being ever-ready and ever-willing to cooperate with the reliably uncooperative. In doing so, he has effectively used GOP stubbornness as a foil. And there’s been evidence that the ploy has political merit.
Now the president has triumphed. Does this mean the White House will pursue its remaining legislative agenda in partisan fashion while making the immovable Republicans look like the bad guys?
Here’s how David Axelrod fielded that question on NBC’s Today show: “We owe it to the country to work together to solve problems. But we can’t stall our progress because of political decisions that have been made by one party or the other that we’re going to try and shut the whole process down. We can’t allow that to happen.”
The idea of getting congressional Democrats to ram through the rest of Obama’s agenda may depend on how confident those lawmakers are about their own job prospects — and how well-founded their hopes or fears prove to be come November.
The Republican National Committee has one Democrat firmly in its sights: Nancy Pelosi. They’ve launched a firenancypelosi.com Web site that pictures the House speaker clenching her fists in apparent frustration before the flames of Hades. Its aim is to raise $1,002,010 in campaign donations to help Republicans win 40 House seats in November. “40 Seats Means No More Madam Speaker,” the RNC explains. By last count, the site had drawn $942,025 in pledges.
Photo credits: Reuters/Jason Reed (the Obamas); Reuters/Jason Reed (Leading Republicans)
Click here for more political coverage from Reuters