President Barack Obama marched up capitol hill on Saturday to ensure his health care reforms would not fail, and it appears that with just hours to go before the vote he may have succeeded.
First he had to persuade waverers in his own party to back the bill. When he emerged from the talks he looked worn out, but then he spoke to members of both parties with energy and conviction.
“If you think that the system is working for ordinary Americans, rather than the insurance companies, then you should vote No on this bill. If you can honestly say that, then you shouldn’t support it. You are here to represent your constituencies and if you think your constituencies wouldn’t be helped, you shouldn’t vote for this.”
Opposition to the bill remains ferocious for those convinced healthcare for everyone is dangerously close to Socialism, but the Democrats insist it will not cost the astronomical sums claimed by its critics.
For the Democrats and their president, who has made healthcare his primary policy objective, this was a bill that could not fail. It is a presidency-defining moment, as much as the Afghan war or economic recovery. That is why Obama has focused on it almost exclusively these past weeks.