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Mr. President, ‘Listen to the People’ on ObamaCare

If it's good advice for Mubarak, why not for you?

by
Jeff Durstewitz

Bio

February 26, 2011 - 12:16 am
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After all, the president came into office with a huge reservoir of goodwill — a large part of which still remains. Many of those who voted for him in 2008 will be looking for an excuse to do so again if only because they don’t want to accept the possibility that a presidency that began with such high hopes could end so ignominiously. He’s attractive, has a great presidential voice, can deliver a decent speech (although he’s no Pericles, as his media acolytes would have us believe), and seems to be a good family man who can even deploy some self-deprecating wit occasionally. All to the good as far as re-election goes, but maybe not good enough if ObamaCare is still rankling the electorate by November of 2012.

And, having just proposed a budget that attempts to put the government’s exploding spending, deficit, and debt on a high-speed rail line to nowhere, Obama definitely could use something to counteract the impression that he’s terminally out of touch with reality.

Let’s grant that, especially in a democracy, it’s good advice for a leader to “listen to the people.” Well, Mr. President? Are you ever going to quit covering your ears? Listening to the people would certainly involve eating some crow — that is, admitting you might not have had the best solution on health care after all while expressing earnest willingness to try another tack — but that would show a winning humility and might even top up that dangerously reduced reservoir of goodwill. Of course, you could continue to hunker down and try to ignore criticism like Mubarak, but wouldn’t it make more sense to just listen to the American people?

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Jeff Durstewitz is the co-author, with Ruth Williams, of the Bantam memoir "Younger Than That Now — A Shared Passage From the Sixties." He lives in Saratoga Springs, NY.
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