Skip to comments.Helen Thomas: "The Buck Stops In The Oval Office" [WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES]
Posted on 10/23/2009 5:00:46 PM PDT by seanmerc
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obamas leadership is being tested on two historic fronts: health care reform and U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.
By the time he has made decisions on these two titanic issues, we will know whether he has the courage to make tough calls and we will know more about his bottom-line principles.
On health care, Obama thought he had learned lessons from 1993 when Hillary Clinton, then the first lady, was put in charge of developing a universal health plan when her husband was president.
She flunked partly because she did not touch base with Congress. She didnt let the lawmakers in on the takeoff as well as the landing, as President Lyndon B. Johnson would put it. The result: Congress wasnt there for the landing.
This time around, Obama has gone overboard to win congressional approval of legislation that has little meaning without a government-sponsored health-insurance program. But his efforts raise questions of whether he is trying to appease the opposition at any price and whether he is willing to fight for a government-run health insurance program.
Obama should listen to the people who have voiced their opinions about health reform. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows a majority favors a government health insurance plan. The president and wavering congressional Democrats should heed that view.
The Republicans in the Senate are solidly against the reform plan, except for Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who played hard to get and seemed to love the attention and tension she created over her Senate Finance Committee vote -- which ended up being a "yes." Now shes back playing games again and says she is unsure how she will vote when the Senate takes up its final bill.
Obama has tried too hard to woo the so-called "blue dog" conservative Democrats -- who seem to be Republicans at heart. They are obstructionists when it comes to health reform and appear eager to follow the bidding of the health insurance industry.
Its hard to think that other presidents -- Harry S. Truman and the two Roosevelts come to mind -- would not have loudly rebuked the Republican "plutocrats" for blocking the vital health plans being debated.
The presidents other test of leadership is Afghanistan where he is considering a request for 40,000 more troops. Any escalation in that rugged primitive land would be reminiscent of the Vietnam War and Gen. William Westmorelands bids for more and more men. We know how that turned out.
Obama has made it clear that he is not going to be rushed. Perhaps the presidential caution has been inspired by the U.S. experience in Iraq, a war that should never have happened in the first place. Its pretty amazing that we still dont know the motives of the Bush administration for pushing, pushing, pushing for an invasion that turned out to be tragically wrong. The folly of that war and the sacrifices by Americans and Iraqis are beyond painful to contemplate.
War is too important to be left to the generals -- much as presidents would like to pass the buck and rely on decisions by the "commanders on the ground," as the civilians like to put it.
But thats not the way it works in a democracy. The buck stops with the president who has been bombarded with advice in the last several weeks.
For all that, he would do better if he reads up on White House decision-making involving the last few wars, especially Vietnam.
Bob Woodward, the Washington Post reporter, recently described a 2007 interview with Robert S. McNamara, secretary of defense during the 1960s Vietnam troop surge.
McNamara told Woodward that LBJ had ordered U.S. escalation in Vietnam because the president was very nervous about political criticism from conservatives eager to accuse him of being soft on North Vietnam. So Johnson went along with requests from "commanders on the ground" -- in this case, Westmoreland -- for more American troops. The result was deeper U.S. commitment in a war we could never win.
Theres a lesson there for President Obama: He should map the way forward in Afghanistan without worrying about his conservative critics.
Holy crap.....there wasn’t enough of a warning......
I know. I was bracing myself for decapitated bodies and I find this. Holy Crap!
Damn public opinion and full steam ahead. Selfish old bat!
Just in time for Halloween!
.."four hours of hairballs, now this"
Beneath that wretched exterior beats the heart of a blithering idiot
OH MY GOOD LORD!!!!! I”M BLIND! I CAN”T SEE!!! UGH! THE HORROR!!
Was photo #1 really necessary?
OMG - I know your warning was in caps, but next time I think you should have to personally call every single Freeper before posting a pic of that size!
Does anyone have painting or a mosaic or a drawing in beach sand of Helen Thomas when she was about twenty-eight, circa 1812? I’m just curious if she was ever attractive?
The old bag regrets not being able to go to Bagdad and do Rather inspired Lewinskys to the great Sadaam. One wonders why all of the liberals support the plight of the Marsh Arabs. If there were ever any natural "Greens" surely those folks would qualify.
ROFL....you can hardly make out a face!