We’re tempted to say that President Obama got Punk’d yesterday by the Senate, as Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the Senate will not be able to get a health reform bill wrapped up before a month-long Congressional recess that starts in August.
We would love to have had Congress hammer out the bill. We took some satisfaction in knowing that legislators were going to have to put in long hours and burn the midnight oil in order to craft the legislation by the President’s deadline. (“Welcome to the world of overtime, Senator.”)
But deep down, we understand – and we agree – that this legislation has to be right. And we’re giving the President some props for backing off on his do-or-die August deadline, while still standing firm on his oft-repeated mantra that health reform must happen this year.
In his press conference Wednesday night, President Obama reassured the American public again that, as much as health reform legislation moving through Congress has faced a stiff wind of opposition, the legislation is steadily moving forward. As much as Democrats may complain about the dozens of amendments introduced by Republicans, we agree with his assertion that contributions from those amendments actually constitute progress – and will make the final bill that much better.
And while some in the opposition may say that this delay might mark President Obama’s “Waterloo,” we’re convinced that it simply reaffirms what we already believed: that unlike his detractors, this President isn’t focused on “winning at all costs,” especially if that win means the nation would end up with flawed health reform. The President’s pledge of bipartisanship is not a slogan, but something that comes from his core – and if moderates on the both sides follow his example, America will enjoy a little more government and a little less politics.
In this case, President Obama’s patience is definitely a virtue.