“Mr. Obama has shown himself to be a deeply partisan and polarizing figure. (‘I have never been asked to engage in a single serious negotiation on any issue, nor has any other Republican,’ Senator McCain reported over the weekend.) The lack of transparency in this process has been unprecedented and bordering on criminal. The president has been deeply misleading in selling this plan. Lobbyists, a bane of Obama during the campaign, are having a field day.

“President Obama may succeed in passing a terribly unpopular piece of legislation – but in the process, he has shattered his carefully cultivated image. It now consists of a thousand shards…

“Mr. Obama has revived the worst impressions of the Democratic party – profligate and undisciplined, arrogant, lovers of big government, increasers of taxes. The issues and narrative for American politics in the foreseeable future has been set — limited government versus exploding government, capitalism versus European style socialism, responsible and measured policies versus reckless and radical ones.”

***
“In his special healthcare address to Congress in September, he said, ‘I am not the first president to take up [the cause of healthcare reform], but I am determined to be the last.’ Those were just words, and everyone, including Obama, knew it. Indeed, the only grounds for supporting the bill, according to progressives, is that it is a ‘first step’ or a ‘starter house’ that they’ll build on for years, even generations, to come. In other words, the healthcare debate is not only not going to end, it’s going to get uglier for as far as the eye can see.

“But here’s the point: Obama’s rhetorical audacity breeds cynicism, because utopianism always comes up short. Obama has many victories ahead of him, but his cause is already lost.”

***
“President Barack Obama said Monday that Congress should approve a final healthcare bill even if it doesn’t include a public option…

“‘But this is an area that has just become symbolic of a lot of ideological fights. As a practical matter, this is not the most important aspect to this bill — the House bill or the Senate bill.’…

“‘But either way, whether there’s a public option in there or not, if you don’t have health insurance, you are going to have now the option of getting it at a reasonable cost,’ Obama said. ‘And that’s the most important thing.'”

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September 9, 2009: