1. Obama came across as human. I don't think that hurts him. He claims that he didn't bring up health care to score an easy legislative victory, or to improve his political popularity. No, he did not. He brought it up because it needed doing. And it still does. No, it is not going to fix itself, our health care system that costs us more per person than any other nation, without covering some 30 to 45 million people, depending on who you talk to.
2. Nobody yelled "you lie." Is that because the Republicans are in a better mood, or because Boehner reportedly said, hey, let's be civil out there, there is a lot of resentment out there and we don't want it to stick to us?
3. Republicans stood and clapped at several points. Nuclear power got a yeay, but wind power did not. Does the electricity know where it came from? It's nice that there was some shared territory, but I agreed with Obama's criticism of both parties in Congress. I think he was right to castigate Republicans for practicing the veto threat on almost anything. It used to be a weapon of last resort, not something that you wave around daily. Yes, if you chose to require supermajority to pass any legislation, then you are abrogating your responsibility to govern.
I listened to a radio interview with Boehner yesterday, and he said, we have reached out to Dems and we will continue to do so, in cases in which we agree with them. But the thing of it is, that's not a description of negotiation and compromise, that's another way of saying my way or the highway. Well, it is, people. Compromise is when you disagree, but you do some horse trading, you split the difference, you get it done. That is not a description of Republican Congressional conduct over the past year. Their conduct was: No. Come back and ask me again after you decide to do it my way.
Nothing is forever in politics. The Scott Brown thing can either serve as an opportunity for the two parties and the president to come together and get a little work done before November 2010, or it can be the opening shot of a nine month war. The choice is partly up to Congress, but keep in mind, we elected them and we will continue to have that power over them. So ultimately, this is our call. We may grumble about Washington, but guess what, Washington is us.
In my view Obama was especially effective in his discussion of cynicism, sound bytes, negativity, and hopelessness; his admission of having suffered defeats and his determination to continue his work. SO, he picks himself up off the canvas, a little blood and a bunch of bruises, to remind us that there is work to do. Can we do less than he?