President Obama’s speech last night will probably prod Congress into passing health care reform, writes Joe Klein in Time. “But it will not end the public malignancy that has attended this debate, and threatens the democratic fabric of our nation.” Klein attended an Arkansas town hall recently and was shocked by the vitriol. He’s afraid that poison will spread from fans of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh to the public at large.
Lee Siegel of the Daily Beast agrees that the speech, however hyped, will change nothing. “The fight will resume, the abusive tactics will continue, the fur will fly—and one way or another, probably procedurally, Obama and most of the Democrats will ram the plan through,” he writes. He blames the media for feeding on "polarized spectacle." The legislation will get done, he says, but the stream of exaggerated "setbacks, defeats, duels to the death" will dog it to the end.