I have many qualms about Barack Obama’s presidency. I worry that he exhausted too much political capital too soon on Obamacare. That he overcorrected for his predecessor’s foreign debacle. That he wore his disdain for Congress too conspicuously.
I'll leave those last two qualms for another post. But I can't let that first one go without a comment.
If I remember correctly (and I'm too lazy to Google it right now), before the financial crisis hit in the fall of 2008 polls showed that the most pressing domestic issue was health care reform.
(Do I really have to repeat that universal health care was brought up by Theodore Roosevelt about a hundred years ago? Or that Bismarck brought it to Germany in the nineteenth century?)
When President Obama was inaugurated in 2009 he had a very small window in which Democrats controlled the House and had a super-majority in the Senate. (Remember that Al Franken wasn't sworn in until July of that year? And that Scott Brown took office the following February?) He really had just a slim chance to get it right -- and he did.
Now Obama will go down in history as the president who finally passed universal health care in America. Joe Biden was right: it's a Big Deal. I predict it will go down in history as his greatest accomplishment.
So if not on health care reform what does Mr. Bruni think President Obama should have been spending his political capital? Should Obama -- as he has been often criticized -- been more focused on the economy? One of the first things he did was pass the largest stimulus bill in history! (And saved the auto industry to boot.) How much more "focused" should he have been?
Seriously, what else should President Obama have been doing with his political capital in 2009 besides saving the US economy and passing the most consequential domestic reform since Medicare?
How about a column on that, Mr. Bruni?