The week of Labor Day and remembrances of September 11 is indeed a crucial week for President Obama.
Not only is he going to engage in a much criticized education speech to the nation’s students, and also attend the Pentagon ceremony on Friday to commemorate September 11’s eighth anniversary, but also his speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night on the health care reform plan will be a turning point for his administration.
It can be said that Obama underestimated the opposition to his health care plan, and its well oiled machine. He also failed to show discipline in planning the bill, leaving too much control to Congress, which has led to a sense of chaos on what exactly the bill is supposed to cover. His earlier insistence on a quick vote only undermined the whole idea and promoted suspicion of his motives.
So in a sense, Obama has to start anew on Wednesday and state CLEARLY what his aims and motives are, and appeal for his party to unify, and for some Republicans to join in on dealing with one of the toughest issues Congress has had to face in many years.
He needs to tell us that a public option is essential, and that he is willing to use whatever techniques and tactics needed to get it through, with the preference for a bipartisan bill and a unified Democratic party, but willingness to use the Democratic majority to his advantage if need be. He has to calm the fears of the elderly, in particular, who seem to believe that Medicare would be under attack.
In other words, he must be a diplomat, but also show willingness to go the distance and play “hardball” if need be, and not worry about alienating some groups, as no President can possibly unite everyone, but the majority should rule and a program NEEDS to be promoted, maybe with some compromise, but not giving up the heart and soul of the legislation.
Those who oppose Obama and want his downfall must not be catered to, and Obama has to be concerned less with being liked and being popular, and more with being successful and respected.
In a sense, he must be a combination of Lyndon Johnson with his aggressiveness, Franklin Roosevelt with his craftiness, and Ronald Reagan with his commitment to principle.
This is indeed not an easy task, and we all need to hope he can accomplish what needs to be done for the nation. If he fails to accomplish his goals, it could be the achilles heel of his Presidency, and that would be terrible for both him and the people of this country.
So those who support his goals must root him on with our willingness to fight for him, and even, a little praying for good to result!