[In 2007] Soon-to-be-candidate Obama, then an Illinois senator, was thinking about turning down an invitation to speak at a big health care conference sponsored by the progressive group Families USA, when two aides, Robert Gibbs and Jon Favreau, hit on an idea that would make him appear more prepared and committed than he actually was at the moment.
Why not just announce his intention to pass universal health care by the end of his first term?
Thus was born Obamacare, a check-the-box, news-cycle expedient that would ultimately define a president.
“We needed something to say,” recalled one of the advisers involved in the discussion. “I can’t tell you how little thought was given to that thought other than it sounded good. So they just kind of hatched it on their own. It just happened. It wasn’t like a deep strategic conversation.”
Rather, it is a preparation of the battlespace, should it become necessary for Barack Obama to retreat on Obamacare. You see, the President was handed the concept by a couple of his aides – and he’s kept up with it out of a boundless respect and admiration for the memory of the late Senator Ted Kennedy*. Which is all very noble of the President – well, the first part isn’t really noble, but it’s not awful, either. Lots of politicians have their staff ‘advise’ them on key issues. But the single most important thing here is that all of this means that Obamacare is not Barack Obama’s fault. He’s as much a victim as anybody else.
Absent blaming Bush**, this is the best that the President’s team can come up with. Assuming that Obamacare collapses, of course. Again, they’re not actually convinced yet that they’re doomed on the subject. Mind you, the Democrats have been guessing wrong on this topic since Day One.
*Sure, you and I might have despised Ted Kennedy: but we’re not Democrats. That agitprop is aimed at somebody else.
**It is effectively impossible, shockingly, to blame Obamacare on George W. Bush. And it is difficult to blame it on the Republicans too openly, given that a) NO REPUBLICAN VOTED FOR OBAMACARE and b) the GOP ran a remarkably successful 2010 campaign across the nation that was pretty much based on opposition to Obamacare (and the rest of the big-government agenda that it symbolized).