Saturday, August 29, 2009

So what's happening in Washington?

The months during the parliamentary recess in the UK is known as the "silly season." Since there is no "real" news, bizarre and off-beat stories get more coverage that they deserve and fringe opinions can distort the perception of what's really going on.

The same has been true this summer in America where coverage of public disturbances at town meetings became the media focus rather than healthcare issues. These demonstrations have been as of nothing compared to the civil rights or anti-Vietnam War demonstrations of the 1960s, yet the media has inflated them to a position of importance in themselves. In advertising terms, they've been focusing on the sizzle, not the steak.

However, in the last week some important cracks appear to be devoping in confidence in the president. Two significant Washington Post articles have been critical of Mr Obama, as have other leading journalists (including Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal, "Pull the Plug on ObamaCare"). Within the Democratic party, Mr Obama's wobble on the "public option" had Nancy Pelosi and others bearing their teeth.

Is the message actually getting through to Congress? Have thed long over-due meetings with constituents actually made a difference, or is most of Congress like Niki Tsongas (5th Congressional District Massachusetts) who at the beginning of her town meeting made it pretty clear that nothing those who had elected her could tell her would make her change her mind about supporting Obamacare?

Time will tell. It may take until 2010, but the majority will be heard.

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