Obama and Mandates: Principle or Electoral Strategy

Okay, I'm taking a deep breath here.  This is not meant as an attack diary, though I know it will be seen as such.  It is rather a further examination of an issue that has been a source of contention in this campaign: the question of why Obama chose to leave out mandates in his health care reform plan.

When Obama's plan first came out, the lack of mandates was seen as either a mistake or the result of too much caution by Obama's advisors. Then when Obama began campaigning as if this lack of mandates was a virtue, Krugman called him on it, which resulted in a tense back and forth between the two, Obama claiming that the lack of mandates was a stand of principle, Krugman accusing him of sabotaging the future of health care reform, and Obama's supporters lashing out at Krugman and trashing his reputation.  I found this back and forth both troubling and surprising.

Many in the blogosphere interpreted the reaction of the Obama campaign as defensive and the reaction of Obama supporters as merely reflexive in trying to defend their candidate.  However, last night -- while watching the New Hampshie debate -- a different explanation occurred to me.  What if Obama left out mandates to insure all American adults not by accident or timidity or because of principle -- after all, he did impose mandates to insure children -- but instead as an integral part of his electoral strategy?

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And it's a tie -- again!

A little break from the sad news from Pakistan today.

A new Strategic Vision poll for the Iowa Caucus rebuts the "Hillary might be pulling away" narrative the media has been pushing the past few days due to the outlier Christmas ARG poll.  It shows Obama with 30%, Clinton with 29%, and Edwards with 28%.  In other words, it's a three-way tie.

It's beginning to look more and more like this thing will go down to the wire.  I think I'm going to have to find someone to babysit my kids on the 3rd so I can follow the returns since I suspect it's going to be a late night even here in California.

As an Edwards supporter, I'm heartened to see that despite things remaining tied, Edwards support keeps creeping up.  I'm betting that he pops that 30% ceiling very, very soon.

Yikes, what a nail-biter.

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