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«Present!»

President Obama’s address last night was little more than a campaign speech with the Congress as the set piece. Evaluated from that perspective, it was a success. But from the perspective of finding a policy solution – i.e. actual governance – it contributed nothing to health care reform. The President had to give yesterday’s speech for a simple, straightforward reason: his party is divided on a few key issues, above all the public option. This is what forced the delay through August, at which point the opposition was able to seize the microphone from government leaders and drive their poll numbers down. To ameliorate this dilemma, the President chose to give last night’s speech. In it, he:

(1) Focused on items that unite the Democrats.
(2) Blasted Republicans while praising bipartisanship.
(3) Indulged in rhetorical flights of fancy that have become his stock in trade.

Jay Cost, Real Clear Politics