It has come to this. This deadline will come and pass. It will not be met. What happened?
Strategically, to frame health care reform as the defining and pivotal achievement of this administration was a setup. The new administration entered under a wave of jubilation and hope. I shared these sentiments.
In 1964, Lyndon Johnson entered the office of the presidency with a mandate for change. A mandate to finish what had been started in the three previous years under an inspiring but a feckless young president. Johnson was the consummate politician. He knew how to twist arms. He knew the Senate intimately. As so aptly put by Linton Weeks of NPR:
President Johnson was famous for staring down, shaming, cajoling, strong-arming, coaxing, sweet-talking legislators into doing his bidding. Johnson spoke directly to lawmakers. Sometimes very directly. Through manhandling and manipulation, Johnson was able to push through legislation affecting public health for the elderly, fair housing, voting rights and other programs that brought sweeping social change.
Obama came in with a new agenda. This was to be the reincarnation of Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi. Leading by example. Without rancor. But Washington is a shark tank.