Comments about ‘Michael Gerson: President Obama's biggest accomplishment also a liability’

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Published: Wednesday, Oct. 31 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Emajor
Ogden, UT

The manner in which the Affordable Care Act passed is not much to be proud of. However, the bill works to address serious problems in our health care system that were long overdue. A number of polls found the majority of Americans approve of individual measures in the bill, but don't like the bill as a whole. Analysts have attributed that to the harsh manner in which it was passed. So Mr. Gerson is right, a lot of burned political capital.

But then Mr. Gerson goes too far, painting the President as being stubborn and difficult, but ignoring how unreceptive Republican members of Congress were on this and a number of other issues. Republican leadership openly stated that their goal was to make Obama fail. They had no motivation for working with the President because they were only looking to score political points rather than work on solutions. So of course Democratic party-line voting had to be used.

Considering how ineffective Congress is as a whole (~10% public approval ratings!), I think Mr. Gerson needs to revisit his premise that the failure to compromise always originated in the Oval Office.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"Obama's biggest accomplishment also a liability"

Exactly the same thing that can be said about Mitt Romney. And for health care also.

That is why neither is really talking about that issue.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Maybe for his next article Gerson could examine the current Congress' record and provide a look at the Democrats vs the Republicans in Congress.

It has been written the moment when Obama realized he truly was dealing with unprecedented obstructionism from Republicans was during the debt ceiling crisis. Republicans took an important and non-controversial matter--raising the debt ceiling so that the U.S. wouldn't default on its past obligations, and made it a political football. In doing so, Republicans demonstrated they were irresponsible, immature, partisan hacks.

T. Party
Pleasant Grove, UT

What did you expect? You elected a man whose primary work experience was going around neighborhoods stirring up discord. Vote Obama out, and be more careful next time.

louie
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Mr Gerson depicts Obama as operating unfairly with Congress. May I remind you that Congress has never had such a low approval rating.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

Gerson got one thing right. The Affordable Care Act is Obama’s biggest accomplishment but it’s the economy on which Romney is staking his hopes for victory.

Health care reform was a campaign promise that Obama made good on. It was Democrats who were the most nervous about pushing it through. It was Republicans who proposed the individual mandate in smug confidence that Obama would never go for an idea that was the brainchild of the Heritage Foundation.

Gerson calls the final drive "a quick, dirty, legislative shove." But it was one Karl Rove would have exulted in had a Republican President shown that kind of determination over a bill.

Gerson sees it as a self-indictment of Obama’s leadership skills. If that’s how we now assess a newly elected President delivering on a major campaign promise for a reform that was a century overdue, Obama should take it as a compliment.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

I admit i was dismayed when Obama's major prority

Riverton Cougar
Riverton, UT

"The manner in which the Affordable Care Act passed is not much to be proud of. However, the bill works to address serious problems in our health care system that were long overdue."

So, you are telling us that the ends justify the means? The means that Obama took to get his health care bill passed is a black mark on his character and ability as a leader.

Democrats love to blame Republicans for their failures. That has been their theme the last 4+ years. They say Republicans refuse to compromise. Of course they are! The problem is that Obama is NOT willing to compromise, as the passing of the ACA proved.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"The problem is that Obama is NOT willing to compromise, as the passing of the ACA proved."

Just the opposite is proved by your example.

The main problem with the ACA was the insurance mandate and associated penalty.

These provisions were first introduced by the GOP and the heritage foundation. And it is what Romney instituted in Mass.

The ACA is proof the the GOP would vote down their own ideas if championed by Obama. They never had ANY intention of compromising.

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

Here's a prediction: by the 2016 issue, the advantages and advances of the ACA will be so apparent, that no one will so much as mention it as a political issue. Opposition to the ACA will be non-existent.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Thank goodness Obama took advantage of the narrow window of time he had to enact healthcare legislation. Initially i thought he should wait but it never would've happened if he had. Obama correctly sees that addressing healthcare costs is essential for longterm economic stability. ACA/Obamacare not a perfect solution, but a step in the right direction.

RG
Buena Vista, VA

The ACA, as predicted by conservatives, is chock full of unintended consequences. For starters, it is now going to cost 2-3 times as much as Obama promised, still leaves millions not insured, is not going to let everyone keep their insurance as promised, and is causing many businesses to drop coverage for their employees, and is raising the cost of insurance for ordinary people. Rationing (aka "death panels") will come; I don't know how extreme it will be, but it will happen. I am not convinced yet that we even know all the unintended consequences; there will probably be many more; this is what happens when you pass a law with thousands of pages that nobody has even read. The GOP had some more common sense solutions to at least some of our healthcare issues, but the liberals accused them of contributing no ideas. If Obamacare is so good, why are so many businesses and even states applying for waivers - with many waivers going to friends of Obama?

raybies
Layton, UT

What obama did was reprehensible, but many of the masses don't care about congressional plurality. They hardly understand how bipartisanship works or why it's important to get buy-in from an opposing party. And they are idealogically cauterized now to a degree that even if they had time to take a civics class, they wouldn't for fear of betraying all the garbage they've posted on facebook about how horrible the other guy is...

Mike in Cedar City
Cedar City, Utah

The Republican party is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the health insurance industry. So the AHCA was demonized before it even was passed. Any change that might hurt the Republican Party's health insurance benefactors would have been demonized. The sad thing is that the Democrats permitted bought and paid for Republicans, (and a few bought and paid for Democrats) to control the discussion and to disseminate fear mongering propoganda that early on discredited the new law with the public, especially the low information public.

The truth is that the AHCA is mostly badly needed Health Insurnace Company regulation designed to eliminate discriminatory practices and to increase the number of citizens covered.

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