Former Governor Howard Dean of Vermont, at one point leading for the 2004 Presidential nomination until his sudden collapse in the race, and more recently Democratic National Chairman, responsible to a great extent for promoting a “50 state strategy”, which led to the Democratic gains in 2006 and 2008, has become a major advocate and critic on the health care reform issue.
A supporter of the public option, Dean has become one of the leaders of the so called “liberal” wing of the Democrats, calling upon President Obama to back the public option affirmatively, rather than tentatively, as Obama has done in the past ten days.
Some see Dean’s activism as resentment because he was passed by for the position of Health and Human Services Secretary, which he was certainly qualified for as a Medical Doctor. Had he been in that role, rather than former Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, who while an effective Governor is seen by many as a too moderate choice for her cabinet post, it is possible that the whole course of the health care debate might have been different.
It is time for Barack Obama to clarify his position on health care, and to utilize the campaign techniques he successfully used to win the Presidency, to turn the tide on this most crucial issue of his administration. The key amount of time for this transformation is the next two months.
If Obama fails in gaining most of what the administration seeks on health care, then he may be judged a failure in his first term. That cannot be allowed to happen. A fighting President, similar to Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Lyndon Johnson is now the requirement demanded of Barack Obama!