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

Highly effective talk knocks down House plan, public option

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 11, 2009 8:08 AM CDT

(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.”

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)
President Barack Obama gestures while delivering a speech on healthcare to a joint session of Congress, Wednesday, Sept., 9, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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In short, the president can read the polls just like anybody else. He has apparently recognized the need to pull back to get something passed. - David Brooks

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