Tonight, we saw a surprising amount of “shouting” delivery, and a lot of promises. A lot. A big reason the public skeptical is that they doubt any plan passed by Congress will meet the litany of pledges Obama offered this evening.
We’re expected to believe a Democrat-controlled Congress, with deep divisions in its ranks, will put together a bill that will keep everything the same for those who have health insurance through their jobs, Medicare, Medicaid, or the VA; mandate coverage of pre-existing conditions; ban caps on coverage; mandate coverage of routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies; offer health insurance to 30 million uninsured; provide tax credits for small businesses; painlessly mandate coverage for the young healthy uninsured; provide hardship waivers; provide choice and competition; keep insurance companies honest; avoid taxpayer subsidies for public option plans; keep out illegal immigrants; not pay for abortions; and not deny care to the elderly because of cost-benefit analyses, all while not adding one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future.
Now that it’s been delivered, I think the pregame assessment of Patrick Ruffini and Mark Impomeni is correct. The reviews tonight will be glowing. David Gergen will say it was perfect. Marc Ambinder and Joe Scarborough were calling it a success before it was done. Paul Begala will cry and declare he has seen an angel sent by God Himself.
And then, in a couple of days, after the 9/11 anniversary, the NFL season kicks off, one or two other news events will bubble up and take up some of the front pages, the polling numbers will come out and we’ll see the numbers haven’t moved much.
This is going to be a battle of how many Democrats hold together in the House and what Olympia Snowe feels in the Senate (along with a few conservative Democrats). The fight is going to go on behind closed doors on Capitol Hill. Tonight provided a bit of drama, but it will be overtaken by events soon enough.