The Corner

It’s Docs or Afghanistan!

Mickey Kaus makes the point that Dems need this timewaster

The idea of postponing health care reform–until, say, the economy improves– doesn’t seem appealing to many Democrats now.** But it might soon. The problem, as Michael Goodwin’s recent column points out, is that the issues waiting in the wings–should health care leave the stage–are even worse, from the Democrats’ political perspective. Cap and trade, immigration legalization, “card check”–these are not what you’d call confidence building appetizers leading up to the main course of Obama’s presidency. Plus the Afghan War! At least a clear majority of the public wants something done about health care….

It’s easy to forget that, even if Obama’s health care effort is bogging down, the effort itself still serves his presidency as a crucial time-waster, tying up Congress and giving him a reason to postpone (or the public a reason to ignore) those other divisive, presidency-killers. Obama needs some excuse for putting off unpopular Democratic demands; health care’s a good one. If he keeps failing to pass health care until spring, that might not be such a bad outcome. In fact, even quick passage was maybe never in his interest. There are things more unpopular than struggling. …

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