KUHN: “However it’s done, if it is done, much of Obama’s legacy would also be undone. Obama and the Democratic leadership made decisions in 2009 that will reverberate politically for decades. Democratic philosophy — active-state liberalism, government as a means to promote the common good — was fully invested in the choices of Obama’s first year, a point this writer has admittedly belabored. Democrats made immense legislative sacrifices to win their prize.
Those sacrifices could be for naught. The new New Deal that never came to pass. Recall that rare chance. A president had the political capital to cobble a bill large enough to substantially impact the economy. But the average American worker was never bailed out.”
“Obama sought the great liberal dream instead — universal health care. The White House seemingly did not grasp the gamble. Obama was wrongly said to have remade our politics, whereas his majority was born with the September 2008 crash and in time, fell as that fact was forgotten. The distance between mandate and actions grew. His coalition predictably fissured with that distance, as he learned demographics are not destiny. Even the everyman concern for health care costs went largely unaddressed. Independents predictably left Obama his first summer in office. The economy was recovering but health care consumed DC. Bailout for the big guy. Health care for the little guy. The middleman was forgotten. Independents never returned. Yet at least, from Democrats’ perspective, they had something historic to show for all they sacrificed. And if the law holds, 32 million more Americans will have health insurance. Not small sacrifices. But no small feat.”
[READ David Paul Kuhn’s “Health Care Law Could Fall, and With It Obama’s Legacy” at Real Clear Politics]