OBAMA URGES SENATE DEMS TO ‘FINISH THE JOB’…. It wasn’t quite as captivating as President Obama’s visit last week with the House Republican caucus, but the president took some time to address the Senate Democratic caucus this morning. Obama, well aware of the Dems’ anxiety this election year, offered some good advice.
“All that’s changed in the last few weeks is our party has gone from having the largest Senate majority in a generation to the second-largest Senate majority in a generation,” Obama said. “If anybody is searching for a lesson from Massachusetts, I promise you the answer is not to do nothing.”
He added, “I know these are tough times to hold public office. The need is great; the anger and anguish are intense.” While “the natural political instinct is to tread lightly, keep your head down and play it safe,” he said, Democrats should remember the promises they made in their election campaigns.
“So many of us campaigned on the idea that we’re going to change this health-care system” Obama said. “Well, here we are with a chance to change it…. We’ve got to finish the job on health care. We’ve got to finish the job on regulatory reform. We’ve got to finish the job, even though it’s hard.”
The president’s appeal on health care was especially noteworthy, given the initiative’s precarious future. As has been the case of late, Obama didn’t give lawmakers specific instructions — at least not publicly — but he made clear they must take advantage of this opportunity and deliver on the promise of reform.
“So many of us campaigned on the idea that we were going to change this health care system,” the president reminded the senators. “So many of us looked people in the eye who had been denied because of a pre-existing condition, or just didn’t have health insurance at all … and we said we were going to change it. Well, here we are with a chance to change it…. I hope we don’t lose sight of why we’re here. We’ve got to finish the job on health care.”
Here’s hoping Democrats take the advice to heart.
And just as an aside, it was also interesting to see that the president apparently keeps up fairly well on media developments: “There was apparently a headline after the Massachusetts election. The Village Voice announced that Republicans win a 41-59 majority. It’s worth thinking about. We still have to lead.”