Monday, March 15, 2010

March 15, 2010

       This is make-or-break week for the President's health care bill.  The question is:  is it also a make-or-break week for the President?  The answer, I think, is no.      Failure would mark President Obama as less than successful in getting Congress to go along with his agenda.  But that's not the kind of president-shattering defeat that a foreign policy loss or a bad war would be.  Harry Truman, as president, spent a fair amount of time cussing out the "good-for-nothing 80th Congress" as he used to call it.  He was sometimes nicknamed "Give 'em hell Harry," but as an ex-president always insisted, "I never gave anybody hell.  I just told the truth and they thought it was hell."  Anyway, the voters liked Truman just fine and elected him over the favored Republican Tom Dewey in 1948.      Bill Clinton failed to get health care through Congress but also was reelected. He came to grief only later, of course--sex with a White House intern and all that.      But it does seem odd.  The United States is, I think, the only developed country in which people don't have health insurance.  When I lived in Britain in the 1960s, you could choose public or private care.  My wife didn't like waiting rooms so our daughter was born with private care, which worked just fine.  But a friend with a rare allergy was diagnosed and treated under National Health and that worked out just fine as well.      Sooner or later, surely, we'll decide that all Americans need health care too. Just maybe not in 2010
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