Thursday, December 9, 2010

Obama Needs Idependent Vote in 2012

The basic idea in this article is that the GOP has used healthcare reform and the re-regulation of banks to paint Obama as a socialist. Apparently, the strategy was costing him support among independent voters. Therefore, he needs to move to the center like Clinton to win in 2012.

Since Obama loaded up his administration with former Clinton advisers, it seemed to people like me that he had a centrist strategy all along. On healthcare, he avoided the Clinton mistake by involving Congress in the process and he made deals with insurance companies and healthcare providers in advance so that they would not strongly oppose reform. The GOP propaganda machine did a great job of portraying this as socialism and it worked. The process was also imperfect, like anything that goes through Congress, and the final product left much to be desired but it was a good start on something that no other president had been able to do. What surprised me most about the result was that benefits were extended to 16 million people, insurance companies were forced to extend family coverage to 26 year old dependents and they were prohibited from excluding people for pre-existing conditions. Ordinarily, there is a lot of cheering and support from folks who benefit from government programs. They have been pretty quiet about this program. The GOP did a better job of distorting the program than the administration did in explaining how we would benefit from it.

Going forward we will have to see whether Obama can rebrand himself as a centrist, by moving to the right of center, or whether he will be perceived as a weak and ineffective president who is being controlled by the GOP

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