Obama's Health Speech a Victory for the Center: Brooks

Highly effective talk knocks down House plan, public option
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 11, 2009 8:08 AM CDT
President Barack Obama speaks to a joint session of Congress on healthcare at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009.   (AP Photo/Jason Reed, pool)
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(Newser) – President Obama’s health care speech was “the finest speech of his presidency,” writes David Brooks: While rhetorically appeasing liberals, it “subtly staked out ground in the center” to win over moderates, making passage “much more likely,” he opines in the New York Times. Obama was firm in creating the “Dime Standard”: No plan can add “one dime to our deficits.” Bye, House plan.

Meanwhile, the president showed he was open, in principle, to tort reform and to “capping the tax exemption on employer-provided health benefits.” After these words, he won’t easily be able to reject amendments confronting either issue. Obama also killed the public option and dumped the “soak-the-rich” tax approach to cover reform, Brooks writes. But all this doesn’t mean “this is effective health reform,” he notes. Obama “has decided to expand the current system, not fix it.”