Obama's Health Reform Waffling May Be Savvy

Prez perhaps following his predecessors in 'strategic uncertainty'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 19, 2009 11:08 AM CDT
In this Aug. 15, 2009, President Barack Obama talks about health care during a town hall meeting in Grand Junction, Colo.   (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
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(Newser) – It may not be timidity that’s keeping Barack Obama from pushing harder for a public health care option. He may instead be employing a time-tested presidential technique: “strategic uncertainty,” writes Jill Lawrence in Politics Daily. Key for Obama is getting strong Senate support for a bill, and “the best way NOT to get” that support “is to declare right now that you won't settle for anything less than a full-scale public plan.”

President Lincoln barred Kentucky slaves’ freedom before the Emancipation Proclamation; FDR's “enigmatic performance” let him gather all the facts before showing his hand. And Obama may just be biding his time before coming down hard: if the House passes a bill with a public plan and the Senate passes one without, that could be the most effective time to strike.