We have to admit: Russia making U.S. foreign policy does count as a reset.
For the Obama administration, big speeches are like the morning-after pill, an emergency prophylactic. Realizing that he may no longer be his own best advertisement, President Obama deputized former president Clinton to deliver a speech on Obamacare. Why the world needs another speech on the misnamed Affordable Care Act is unclear, but the administration is foundering, its political capital experiencing devaluation from its bumbling on Syria, and there remain serious legal and political challenges to the realization of the Democrats’ thoroughly muddled health-care vision: so, a speech. President Clinton gave an unusually dull performance, which set conspiratorial types atwitter with intimations that this was an attempt to distance the Clinton brand from the struggling administration, but the more direct explanation is that there is very little that may be persuasively said in favor of the ACA. The main claims of its supporters — that those satisfied with their current coverage will be allowed to keep it, that it will achieve near-universal coverage, that it will reduce insurance premiums — are in the aggregate no longer defensible. What President Clinton was really trying to do was to foreclose further debate, as Democrats have attempted to do with everything from abortion to global warming, calling the game while they are ahead. The health-care debate will be over when voters say it is — in 2014, 2016, or beyond.