what other people think

How Much Does the Health-Care Delay Matter?

Yesterday, Senate majority leader Harry Reid announced that the Senate would not be taking up health care before the August recess. But what about President Obama and his now-ignored deadline? Was he concerned at all that Congress dared to disobey him, like an insolent child? Not at all. “That’s okay. I just want people to keep on working, just keep working,” he said. It’s nice that he’s keeping an upbeat attitude, but is he grounded in reality? How much will this delay hurt the prospects of health-care reform?

• Nate Silver thinks the health-care timeout is “inevitable” and “about as likely to do the Democrats some good as some harm.” “The Democrats could find themselves in a better position after the August recess, or they could find themselves in a worse one,” he says. “But liberals’ doom-and-gloom, conservatives’ glee, and the media’s nearsighted reporting are all equally uncalled for.” [FiveThirtyEighty]

• Peggy Noonan says that after Obama’s “filibustery and spinny” news conference the other night, she’s unsure whether Obama will get any kind of health reform whatsoever. His health-care reform may be stopped “not by ideology, or even by philosophy in a strict sense, but by simple American common sense.” [WSJ]

• Jonathan Chait agrees that the media is overreacting and feeding the public health-care stories “about haggling, backbiting, and legislative morass.” But reform will pass because, ultimately, Democrats will “have to focus on which alternative is likely to make them better off: reform passing or reform failing.” [Plank/National Review]

• Greg Pollowitz doesn’t think Obama has any right to blame the media, even if after he “was just given free airtime on all the major networks, plus the cable news channels, to discuss health care” the public still doesn’t support his health-care plan. [Media Blog/National Review]

• Chuck Todd and friends lay out the bottom line: “It’s still hard to imagine a scenario where Obama doesn’t sign something he calls health-care reform by the end of the year. But this is coming — at least right now — at a painful political cost.” [First Read/MSNBC]

• Marc Ambinder suspects “that the ratcheting down of pressure will be somewhat of a relief to the Finance Committee negotiators. Less pressure means more time to think — and to haggle civilly, as opposed to haggling with a looming deadline.” [Atlantic]

• Carrie Budoff Brown and Chris Frates believe the delay “opens the most ambitious legislative initiative in more than 40 years to a month of fierce scrutiny as special-interest groups ramp up what was already expected to be a firestorm of ads, organizing, and lobbying.” [Politico]

• Rick Klein says that, “yes, the opponents will be able to step up their campaign. Yes, the president loses a touch of political sway with every passing day.” But the bright side for Obama is that he “and his allies can try to find a new case to make. This is moving slowly, but from the White House’s perspective, at least it’s still moving.” [Note/ABC News]

• Steve Benen considers whether it’s reasonable, as Harry Reid said yesterday, to give Republicans more time. Given the GOP’s “plain and transparent strategy” of obstruction, he shouldn’t be concerned about “working with the Republicans.” [Political Animal/Washington Monthly]

• Dana Milbank thinks the problem with health-care reform is that “Obama isn’t saying what he wants. Heeding the lesson of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s failed health reforms, he has decided to let lawmakers work out the details themselves. But this strategy has deteriorated into anarchy, as each of the 435 representatives pulls the proposal in a different direction.” [WP]

• Charles Krauthammer claims that, to protect his image, “Obama is quite prepared to sign anything as long as it is titled ‘Health-Care Reform.’ ” [WP]

• Byron York believes that if health-care reform fails to pass, it’ll be because of the mistrust sowed by the failed stimulus package. [Washington Examiner]

• Holly Bailey says administration officials are telling Democrats “[t]hat an Obama defeat on health care won’t reflect well on other Dems, particularly those up for reelection in 2010. So far, Democrats aren’t buying it.” Fellow Democrats are Obama’s real problem, even as he turns the GOP into boogie men. [Gaggle/Newsweek]

How Much Does the Health-Care Delay Matter?