Team Obama is in full campaign mode, firing off e-mails and organizing events to push ahead for health care reform, but nobody knows exactly where the goal line is.
According to the Washington Post, "President Obama's supporters hope to recapture the energy of last year's triumphant election campaign in a bid to regain control of the health-care debate, planning more than 2,000 house parties, rallies and town hall meetings across the country over the next two weeks."
The trouble with such exertion is that the object is not pulling the lever in a presidential election or urging a simple affirmative Congressional vote but influencing thousands of pages of still-shifting legislation in both Houses.
Yes, we can...what?
In the morass of issues involved, only the public option has come into focus to be distorted by lobbyists and loons into a future of government control and death panels, Big Lies that have to be answered with long and convoluted explanations
The demagoguery level is so high that Paul Krugman today resorts to nostalgia for the Unindicted Co-Conspirator, arguing that "Nixon’s proposal for health care reform looks a lot like Democratic proposals today. In fact, in some ways it was stronger."
On the other side of the ideological divide, George Will asserts, with some justice, that on health care reform "our ubiquitous president became the nation's elevator music, always out and about, heard but not really listened to, like audible wallpaper."
All this puts Obama supporters in the position of rushing around in all directions, trying to contain the flames of opposition in the equivalent of a Chinese fire drill.
As the Right revels in its newfound voice and the Left indicts the President for losing his nerve, health care reform is evolving beyond a crucial political and economic issue.
In many ways, it is becoming a test of how well American democracy can let rational voices be heard in a 21st century Tower of Babel--of whether Obama's new politics has enough power to revive and revitalize the best of the old.