There are a lot of positives in the President’s speech on health care but, in my mind, none was greater than the contrast that President Obama cast between the two political parties. Here was a Democrat and the President who was in control of the details, appealing for bipartisan cooperation for the good of the nation and citing historical precedents as well as future possibilities. He was intellectual yet passionate, principled and determined. There were the Republicans – rude and partisan and, ultimately, shamed not only by their record, but also by their own behavior. Barney Frank captured it for me when he responded to a question about the outrageous behavior of Rep. Wilson when he said that Wilson’s heckling was a sure sign that President Obama was so effective that Republicans were losing their minds.
President Obama has come to symbolize a Democratic Party that is smart, caring, polite and strong. Republicans have become a party of tea-baggers, “birthers”, and even some of their own leaders have voiced a concern that the conservative movement has lost its intellect. I know I’ve been critical of the President, especially with regard to his economic policy, but he won me back with that speech last night. Good for him and even more so – good for us.