Obama Needs to Find His Backbone for Health Speech

Prez should use speech to show leadership and rise above partisan bickering
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2009 4:08 AM CDT
President Barack Obama listens to a question at the White House Forum on Health Reform in the East Room of the White House earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – President Obama needs to rediscover that "Yes We Can" spirit in a hurry if he's going to make a convincing case for health care reform in tonight's speech, Steven Pearlstein writes in the Washington Post. The president needs to wrest control of the debate not just from the right wing, but from his own timid, poll-fixated advisers who've muddied the message that there can't be gains without some "fairly apportioned pain," Pearlstein writes.

Obama has made himself look small by failing to win enough commitments from business and unions, Pearlstein argues, and folding in the face of right-wing attacks. Tonight's the time for him to stand tall and show some leadership, Pearlstein writes, "not only by laying down the moral and economic imperative of health-care reform, but by coming clean on some of the tradeoffs that will be necessary in achieving it."