Matt Taibbi wonders why it took a threat from the insurance industry to jack up health care premiums for the Democrats to get their act together:
The sequence: Obama and the Dems got whipped in Massachusetts and it
suddenly occurred to them that they might want to start doing things
that would be popular outside their Rolodex of campaign contributors. A
bailout tax was one early idea. They started searching the landscape
for outrages they could get on the other side of and found a good one:
Anthem Blue Cross in California raising rates by 39 percent.
Suddenly the Obama administration decided to come out against the
antitrust exemption for the insurance industry. Like they only just
noticed the problem.
This is a slightly worrying pattern of behavior coming out of the White House. Obama seems to wait until the very last moment to spring into action, pulling the country back from a series of mini-disasters that would have been completely avoidable had he taken them on earlier. The health care process is a perfect example. It looks like some sort of decent health care package may finally pass, but it has taken several spectacular near disasters for the Democrats to ratchet up the rhetoric and push for what the public really wants.
Maybe this is part of Obama’s rope-a-dope strategy, but it’s wearing awfully thin. It’s becoming more and more difficult to defend the idea that Obama is some sort of Jedi mind control master biding his time to dramatically swing the country in the right direction, and easier to believe the notion that he’s a neophyte politician leading a team of spineless hacks through a political minefield they are woefully unprepared for. The Democrats need strong leadership, and simply waiting for the other side to attack won’t cut it any more.
As they say, a strong offense is the best defense.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.