President Obama’s speech has a singular goal: to convince the public.
The Democrats in Washington DC are already convinced, but the American public right now is unconvinced. The Senators learned that when they went home. They don’t want that to happen again because they have to answer to the people in a State.
A sizable block in the American public is unsure of what the “problem” is and many are just as convinced the current suggestions (Congress proposals and now the Obama proposal) will not solve the problem that is being suggested.
The American public wants a proposal that is clear, concrete and not loaded with language that is up for interpretation by both sides in the political spectrum. It wants to know an answer to the big question: “What will this cost us?” Steven Pearlstein, in today’s editorial in The Washingon Post and one who stands with Obama, sums this up perfectly: “What makes reform such a difficult puzzle is that the fundamental policy goals of universal coverage and cost containment are inconsistent with the political instincts to assure Americans who already have health insurance that they will be able to keep everything they already have, to assure that nobody will get a tax or cost increase and to assure those in the health-care industry that there will be no reduction in their income. Obama’s mistake so far is not that he left it to Congress to hammer out the details of competing reform plans, but that he failed to give Congress political cover by helping people understand that there can be no gain from reform without at least some fairly apportioned pain.”
Furthermore, many wonder if taxes will have to be raised significantly to pay for the health care proposals. Add to all of this the debt, and you’ve got an American public — not everyone, mind you — that says to the President tonight what Missourians have always said, “Show me.”
Pearlstein again: “After a summer that exposed a virulent strain of public cynicism and distrust, the president’s challenge is to rededicate himself to restoring faith in government and rekindling the “yes we can” spirit that swept him into office. And at some point he needs to look straight into the eyes of those who would have him fail and promise to do whatever it takes to break the partisan stranglehold and make health-care reform a reality.”