Can Obama's Nobel Prize help pass health care reform?
by Nathan Empsall, Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 10:27:31 AM EDT
Jerome argued earlier today that Obama's transformative message, the size of the Democratic majorities in Congress, and the impact of the Nobel Peace Prize on our global standing all combine to create the perfect atmosphere for passing the President's progressive agenda. An easy counter to that is to say that the "he doesn't deserve the award" backlash will actually hobble him here at home. The question is, can Obama's Nobel Peace Prize help pass progressive health care reform?
Larry Sabato thinks it can.
For President Obama, the enhanced prestige is an intangible element that can help him on the international stage. It may also make some difference in his quest for health care reform. This is because the success of a health care bill now depends almost entirely on Democratic votes in Congress, and Democrats will be the ones most impressed by the award. What a difference a week makes, huh? The Nobel Peace Prize certainly wipes out the embarrassment of Obama's Olympics disaster!
Also on the plus side, think of the TV ad that David Axelrod can craft for Obama's 2012 reelection. The other three U.S. presidential winners either received the award in their second terms (Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson) or long after the White House years (Jimmy Carter). Obama will be the first one who can actually put the Nobel Prize to good political use.
I agree with Sabato. We've seen a significant surge in momentum for health care reform and even the public option in recent weeks: McConnell's tepid criticism of the Baucus bill, retired Republican endorsements for reform, and overwhelming popular support for the public option. Alone, the Nobel Peace Prize may not have meant much, but as part of a line of positive news, it could mean a great deal, adding to some serious momentum and pushing us over that final line.
I won't take up space on the front-page with my thoughts on the prize itself, especially after Jerome's post, but if you're interested you can read them here: "Obama's Nobel Prize, While Largely Undeserved, Is Good For America."