No matter how you slice it, Obama’s on a roll

March 26, 2010

NCAA/What does he do for an encore?

President Barack Obama started the week with a victorious end to the healthcare angst. And ended it with a win on START.

For a president who entered his second year with a Nobel Peace Prize but scrounging for a mega-accomplishment to put in the Democrats’ corner in an election year, this week handed him a pair of major victories.

But there is still plenty of time for things to go awry before November — think Kansas in the NCAA basketball tournament. Or for things to go even better than hoped — think Butler.

On Tuesday, he signed the healthcare bill. On Friday he announced an agreement with Russia on a new START Treaty.

White House and other administration officials have been visibly gleeful and basking in the glow of the sun coming out this week on the president’s agenda. NOBEL-PEACE/OBAMA

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a moment of levity at the podium in the White House press room, responded to a question about the START Treaty having to be ratified by the U.S. Congress and the Russian Duma by saying:

“I think President Obama has said that he would send Rahm Emanuel to Moscow and we all immediately endorsed that offer.  So if it — you know, if President Medvedev wants to take us up on it, we’re ready.” (Lots of laughter).

For now it’s all coming up roses for the Obama White House. And Republicans are being portrayed as the party of no.

How long do you think that will last?

Photo credit: Reutes/Ramin Rahimian (Butler goes up for a basket against Syracuse), Reuters/Jim Young (Obama at Rose Garden in October)


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

The pathetic job situation is going to sink Obama and the dems. Real unemployment stands at 25% and is quickly going to 30% as this health bill means soaring costs to all sizes of business.

Posted by Story_Burn | Report as abusive

The previous comment is silly. The health care bill DOES NOT mean “soaring costs to all sizes of business.” Stop regurgitating the Republican nonsense and start thinking for yourself. At the end of the day, America is a rich country in which people die, go bankrupt or suffer serious injury because of lack of adequate health care coverage. Bush did nothing to alleviate the matter in 8 years, Obama did SOMETHING in less than 2. Whether the bill is successful remains to be seen, but the Republicans are stirring up anger without even looking at the positives in the bill. And the programs can be tweaked over time. And who cares about BUSINESSES? What about the AMERICAN PEOPLE? Isn’t government meant to serve it’s people?

Posted by Something2Say | Report as abusive

The American people don’t want it. So that answers your question about the American people.

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive

If someone could please direct me to a source for learning the positive things about the healthcare bill? I am interested to know but not enough so to read a 2,000 page document. I am sure that neither Republicans or Democrats have it entirely right (neither of whom I support in any way). I disenjoy the partisan slant for the Republicans and their anger and for the Democrats with their ruthless socialism. I just would really like to know why the Healthcare Bill, and any further government regulation is or should be seen as a positive thing for the Americans, who will within 10 years face the notion of soaring inflation. The government typically gets their budgets entirely wrong. They are not much unlike contractors involved in many construction projects. Only difference here is that my example deals with an individual and their “personal capital” while the government’s incompetence only leads to further devaluation of our currency. Why are people not getting mad about spending when we should be saving. As a human being, when the going gets tough do you spend more??? I highly doubt it. From a Keynesian perspective it is of cource the government’s job to spend but will a Keynesian event be given a platform from which to preach their false prophecies about economic policy within 5 years. Anyway, any source or perspective on Healthcare in particular would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by arma2009 | Report as abusive

Just fyi…I own a small business, and it wont mean a single thing to me as i employ less than 50 people.
BUT i have studied the bill, and it will mean HUGE cost increases for any business employing over 50 people…so that means 2 things…. (1. split the company up so it employs 49 people at each division and let govt worry about providing insurance for the people, or 2. eliminate the company provided insurance option from the benefits package/pay the 3k fine and let the people get healthcare from the govt.) either way…it screws the people.

Posted by JayWx | Report as abusive

The health care bill is passed. If republicans want to stand up with honor again then they can make changes to the bill that help the citizenry. The bill itself is nowhere near perfect. But considering the republicans wanted NOTHING to do with it, they have no room to complain about it.

The bill will be changed as time goes on until it does what it’s supposed to do. A public option would reduce costs because insurance companies would not be able to cherry pick the healthiest patients leaving the only the very sickest for government programs.

Insurance companies keep their costs low by only insuring the healthiest people and denying coverage for anyone with a preexisting condition, or by dropping coverage once a customer gets sick. with the new law they can longer do this. And that will drive many out of business. If the government had healthy people contributing to a public system, the government would be able to keep costs down just like insurance companies because there would be healthy contributors to the system. But the government would not drop someone because of a preexisting condition, or because they got sick.

Once republicans figure out how money can be made under the new law, they will fight any changes that affect that money making. Just like they did during this whole issue.

To be sure, switching to a consumption based flat tax would go a long way towards handling the financial issues that this new law brings up. Remove income tax. Creating a single national sales tax would ensure EVERYONE pays their fair share in taxes. Cause even if you’re supper rich, you need to buy stuff. And the more money you have the more expensive the stuff is you buy. There will be plenty of money for the government to do its work under a consumption based tax system.

Posted by Benny_Acosta | Report as abusive

My mother-in-law has a so-called Cadillac health care plan. Since her husband passed away in 2005, she’s had a rough ride health-wise and has needed lots of medical and psychiatric treatment. All she’s had from her insurers is denial of claims and push-backs. And she’s got the best coverage available!!! In Australia and England (other countries where I have lived) she would have received the treatment she needed promptly and without the added stress of fighting her health insurers. In fact, she wouldn’t even have needed health insurance!

Bravo to Obama for doing something about this systematic rip-off of honest Americans. The system here is so, so bad, and so many people here don’t understand this because they don’t look outside America to see what other countries are doing.

The way out of this horrible mess is far from clear and definitely not easy. Fixing it will take lots of time and money, for sure. It’s going to be very tough to dislodge those money-sucking middlemen parasites in the health care industry. For some reason lots of Americans support these charlatans. I don’t understand why, but I suspect it’s because advertising and politicians with a vested interest have told us to do so. Well thanks to Obama, we’re getting started on the road to recovery.

I do agree with the Republicans that the malpractice laws need to be overhauled and doctors need more protection. But then we’d need the same crowbar to get the insurance companies to lower their rates to doctors.

Healthcare, like education is surely a matter of national necessity, not privilege. An uneducated nation will fail, just as a sick nation will fail. Which way is America going compared to others in the developed world? Just read ‘The World in Figures’ from the Economist each year to see the dismal truth (we’re almost at the bottom of the OECD nations in healthcare efficiency, and our education figures aren’t too bright either).

Demonstrably, the health-care system is choking America. Obama seems to have a genuine interest in improving things for the average American. We’ve just not heard any good, solid suggestions from the Republicans about what they’d do better. At least what he’s spending money on does Americans some good, rather than starting unnecessary wars that injure and killing us.

Posted by pskils | Report as abusive

Wow! There are a lot of uniformed people posting and the author of this piece is wearing rose colored glasses.

It seems the liberals are anything but and are actually extremely agressive without thinking. I guess it fits the passing of this plan.

We jumped into Iraq without fully examining the situation. The only people that came out well from there are the handful of families that control the country and those politicians against Hussein.

It took 10 years to pass Medicare. Why do you think? Don’t hurt yourself people that believe forcing something through to save face is good.

How many people voted to pass Medicare? 309 or so. Not 219.

The ignorant masses want socialism or communism or liberalism so they can feed of the hardworking few. They are parasites like most likely much of the 30 million that aren’t covered.

The problem is not insurance. It is the cost of health care. I must restate incase it went to quick.

The cost of health care is the problem. Not insurance.

Pushing people to the middle man doesn’t sound smart to me. It definitely isn’t the right answer.

Politicans are being threatened for going against their constituents wishes.

If it continues, which it will. A revolution is coming.

The militia group is just one of many. First those on the edge act and then the rational thinkers.

Are we seeing a theme? Plane crashed into IRS building because of governement mistreatment. A man plows over his house because bank would rather foreclose then short sell. Now, a militia group arrested.

Not looking pretty and it’s going to get much worse.

The Great Depression lasted a decade and longer in some places.

Do you think this is over?

Do you think printing money has no consequence?

The Obamanites need to wake up to reality.

You put somebody in charge with no experience. That sounds completely logical doesn’t it?

Let’s have the president learn on the job.

“Oh, he’s so smart.” Yeah, so, most of the worst things done in history were done by much smarter people then he. Many in good faith.

This will be the dark decade of this century. Decade if we are lucky. Our coutry may try to start a world war thinking it saved the world once, why not again.

Hang on tight! It’s going to be a wild ride!

Posted by UglyTruth | Report as abusive

tyc: What American people are you talking about?! You must be listening to LImbaug and Beck’s vicious lies or is your head in the sand? You and all YOUR Americans are DENYING that our healcare system is in the dumps?
What narrow minded rubbish!

Posted by liberated | Report as abusive


I am talking about the majority of Americans. That’s who I am talking about.

The majority of Americans did not want any plan put forth by the congress and the president.

What I did not say is that Americans don’t want to reform the health care system. Just not what we got.

It gets tiring to hear the old progressive fallback on who do you listen to…beck limbaugh, etc. for your information. Hey man, why do you listen to CNN and MSNBC and Maddow for your progressive misinformation?

Anyway, I read the polls and the polls show the American people don’t want what we got shoved down our throats. That’s the problem with one party rule. We don’t get good law. (and no, I didn’t like it when the republicans were in total control…).

Have a nice day liberated.

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive

I grew up military with US government health care. It wasn’t cushy but it was there and it was adequate.
I lived in Europe for a while and was on their health care system, it wasn’t cushy but it was there and it was adequate.
I now live in America where I have no health care at all because I can’t afford it.
I would rather have health care in any form than what I (don’t) have now.

Obama and the Democrats are on the right track even if the first draft is not perfect. Health care reform is like trying to buy jeans. You need to try on a lot of different pairs before you find the perfect fit – it takes time and patience. The first pair of health care jeans might not be perfect – but it is only the first pair – there are many, many more that may need to be tried before finding the perfect fit.
However, when it comes to change, according to what I’ve observed about Americans- the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t.
You would rather keep the awful system you have than change to something that you don’t know but could be better.
If most Americans stopped being so arrogantly stubborn – you might learn something from other nations who DO have working health care systems. It IS possible to have a country with universal health care AND be fiscally competitive in the world market. MOST developed countries have managed it.

Posted by freddiem | Report as abusive

Someone above said: “The majority of Americans did not want any plan put forth by the congress and the president.”
Not true. The majority of Americans voted for health care reform on Nov 4, 2008.

Posted by frank654 | Report as abusive

Republicans say: we cannot afford health care for all Americans “now”. Well, neither can we afford, “now”, social security, medicare, medicaid, schools, armed forces…!

Posted by frank654 | Report as abusive

Conservatives used to go to great lengths to reject the notion of governing based on polls. The very idea was mocked and dismissed as unworthy of true leaders. When policymakers choose to confront a great challenge, they shouldn’t just take the public’s temperature and base their judgment on shifting whims and attitudes.
President Bush boasted repeatedly that he was a president who governed “based upon principle, and not polls and focus groups.” Conservatives rejected the idea that polls should dictate policy decisions. Such an approach is fundamentally weak and unprincipled.

Until now, anyway. Conservatives have now decided that polls are all that matters, and to approve legislation that polls poorly is some kind of un-American act, betraying the consent of the governed.
By conservative standards, wouldn’t President Obama deserve credit for standing tall and delivering on his campaign promises, even in the face of discouraging polling data? Isn’t it more important to do what’s right than what’s popular? I thought conservative principles were not negotiable.

Posted by GetpIaning | Report as abusive