Monday, September 7, 2009

September 7, 2009

      Barack Obama may want to think, in these waning days of summer, about an old saying:  "Of all sad words of tongue nor pen, the saddest are these: 'It might have been.'"      We know, heading into the last few months of this president's first term that he is thoughtful and smart.  We don't know yet how good he is at getting things done. We're going to find out pretty soon, though.  The issue, of course, is health care.      The president said early it was a big deal for him, a priority, but he left it up to Congress to draft the bill.  This worked about as well as you might expect.  Several bills emerged from several committees and Congress fizzled and foozled over what to do with them.  Nothing, so far, is what it's chosen to do.      Now, I read the president is going to propose his own bill.  We'll see how good he is at twisting arms and compromising to get it passed.  Bob Dole, the former Republican leader in the Senate, has said Mr. Obama will have to do some horse-trading.  He's right of course, and that's a skill Mr. Obama may or may not have;  we just don't know yet.          The risk is that if he doesn't have it, failure on health care will infect the whole rest of his term with Congress paying little attention to a president it sees as ineffective, a talker who can't get things done.   

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