Is Obama smart enough to pull a Clinton?

In 1993, President Clinton nearly destroyed his presidency by tying his legacy to Hillarycare.  In 1995, he rode the banner of small government and welfare reform to easy reelection.  Despite his personal failings, Clinton was at least smart enough to not let ideology trump success.

President Obama’s attempt to nationalize health care is going down in flames.  He is even more closely linked to health care reform for his presidency than Clinton.  Republicans and moderate Democrats are not going to allow him to socialize our health care system.  Right now liberal Democrats are blustering and frothing about not giving up their visions of a government takeover of another 1/6th of the economy.  However they also don’t want to give up their current majority power and will surrender soon.

The August recess will allow time for the reality to set in that Obamacare is dead and buried but the risk that he failed with nothing to show is ever greater for his presidency.   Is Obama smart enough to recover?  My immediate belief is no.  He is too much an ideologue to pull victory from defeat but the path is there for him to take.

The number one issue for health care is not the uninsured or even the high cost of insurance.   The overwhelming anxiety for the vast majority of responsible Americans is:

Will a health status change, job change or an arbitrary insurance company decision at some point prevent me from obtaining catastrophic coverage that could save the life or me or a family member?  Most Americans do not want free health care but they want the anxiety to end that they someday cannot protect themselves even if they play by the rules all their life.

There are many proposals that could eliminate this anxiety without another dollar of government investment.  Government can play it’s rightful role of setting the proper (and limited) rules for a deregulated market but then get out of the way.  This includes the continued privatizing of Medicare and Medicaid and stop subsidizing routine medical expenses.  My favorite analogy is auto insurance does not pay for oil changes or brake repairs, why should health insurance pay for a flu shot or the doctor’s visit for the flu?  Individual choice and free market competition will “bend the cost curve” while improving access and quality of care.  I dream of the day I get junk mail from doctors competing for my patronage.

A smart politician would adopt this as HIS plan, pass health insurance reform with bipartisan support and bask in the praise and success of his effort.  President Obama is unfortunately not a smart politician.  He is an ideologue politician and his pride will never let him accept defeat of his dream of a socialist paradise.