President Obama seems to like highwire acts. Once again the president used a very visible speech to try and regain the upper hand in a situation that had seemingly gotten out of control. (Remember his speech on race last fall.)
His speech last night to a joint session of Congress on the need for health care reform was, in my opinion, another example of the president successfully doing what he needed to do. He made his case for health care reform and he made it forcefully.
The health insurance industry took its licks during the speech, but the president came nowhere near demonizing the business. He criticized health insurers, for sure, but in that he has lots of company across this country.
What he did was lay out the necessary elements of reform as he sees it without getting mired down in the itsy-bitsy details that would have become the targets for anyone wanting to take potshots at the entire reform effort.
I also thought the arc of the speech was just what it should be—going from policy elements to invoking the moral necessity for reform as embodied in the lifetime work and dream of Sen. Ted Kennedy.
The speech end on a high emotional note and a call to conscience as Americans that was stirring—and refreshing.