Obama's Sugar-Cube Health-Care Speech to Congress
President Obama's eloquent speech tonight was a sugar cube that may produce a 48-hour high. The speech was a net plus, but nothing substantive was resolved. The rhetoric and the facts still don't match.
The call for a public plan is alive and well. The left and the unions are happy, and the vulnerable democrats facing reelection in 2010 are still worried. Nothing in the speech suggested that the plan will do anything other than add to Americans' debt. Nothing in the speech makes seniors believe that they will not face Medicare cuts. The emotions that drove the summer town-hall confrontations are still as intense as before the speech.
Blaming Republicans is probably meant to lay the predicate for partisan votes that the president will force. And the GOP did not help the cause or their credibility with the disrespectful behavior during the president's remarks.
But, overall, the speech contributed to what I consider to be the most likely outcome for the administration: This fall there will be a Rose Garden ceremony celebrating the passage of something called health-care reform. It may have to be characterized as "Phase One," but something will pass. This speech moved us closer to that day.
The writer is chairman of BGR Group. He was a White House staffer to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.