By Manifesto Joe
Barack Obama may go down as a one-term president, given the corporate money that is almost certainly coming to bear against him after the recent Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance. But he's telling Republicans, with no uncertainty, that he's not quitting, and will be in their faces until the day he has to leave office.
Obama was very presidential, and nothing short of brilliant, during his videotaped encounter with House Republicans during their Baltimore retreat Friday. This may have been one last bid to get across to an intractable opposition that, with the current caliber of partisanship, absolutely nothing will get done. And, there will be somebody to blame for that.
The president hit many of these doctrinaire righties in an uncomfortable spot when he talked about their response to his general health-care overhaul proposal. This had the endorsement of former GOP Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker and Bob Dole, and of former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. It's a "centrist" proposal, Obama emphasized.
But, the Republican reception was such that, "you'd think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot." There was uncomfortable tittering in the hall. Obama didn't back down or even blink once. That's what the response was like, he reiterated.
The Republicans in the House have been playing to their right-wing constituents, exaggerating a milquetoast overhaul into some "radical" government takeover of health care. Obama stood in front of them and basically told them so.
One thing I was very proud of seeing was a U.S. president who can not only speak English, but do so extemporaneously and very eloquently. I think it bothers some of the Republicans that they are up against someone this articulate and formidable.
But the most important thing that happened Friday was that Obama signaled to the so-called "loyal" opposition -- let's see something realistic. He pointed out that the notion of 30 million more Americans being covered for health care at no additional cost is -- well, fantasy. And, the idea of offering private insurance coverage across state lines? Fine, but with no standards for such, the insurance companies are certain to cherry-pick healthy people, among myriad other possible abuses.
I was encouraged by something that will probably be what progressives will have to settle for, for the next 20 or more years, after the Supreme Court's decision to give the country over to huge corporations. Obama shows a fighting spirit, at least within the framework of trying to get results. He's not quitting.
Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.