Thank God: Next Wednesday night, President Obama will address a joint session of Congress in an effort to regain control of the healthcare debate and clarify the details of his vision for reform.

Senior advisor David Axelrod says the speech will give us all "a clear sense of what he proposes and what health care reform is not." Man, that would be nice. But to be any clearer than he has been, he has to choose two of three groups to piss off royally and unapologetically because, as everyone but the President figured out a long time ago, real compromise is a fantasy. Liberals want him to refuse to sign any proposal that doesn't include a public option. Centrists want him to magically make affordable health care available to all without stepping too hard on the insurance industry's toes. And conservatives want a new president, but in the meantime, will settle for watching him fail spectacularly. Oh, wait I'm sorry, I got that last one wrong. MSNBC has the scoop:

HAHAHAHAHAHA. *wipes tear off cheek* HAHAHAHAHA.

Numerous sources are reporting that the White House is talking with Republican Senator Olympia Snowe about a compromise plan that would involve a "trigger" for a public option: The insurance companies will be given a set period of time to bring down health care costs of their own volition (snorf), and if they blow the deadline, a public option will automatically appear. Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic says:

The public discussion of the Snowe "compromise" is meant to test the reaction of House Democrats, who will pass a bill that includes an immediate public option added to a new health insurance exchange. The White House hopes that, having voted for a public option, House Dems would accept a "trigger" as part of a conference committee compromise rather than putting the kibosh on the entire health care reform project... For a while now, Obama's aides have believed that the 50-odd progressives in the House who are demanding a public option will get their jollies if they can pass a bill out of the House, and that they will be too afraid to oppose a bill that makes it out of a subsequent conference committee — a bill that President Obama would specifically endorse.


In other words, he's totally choosing to piss off the liberals, but wants to offer them a last hurrah in hopes that no one will notice that's what he's done. Who could have seen that coming, other than anyone who's been paying attention?

But who knows, maybe he'll surprise us all with a real show of progressive leadership next Wednesday. Maybe.


President To Flesh Out His Vision In Speech [Washington Post]
Obama And The Perfect Political Storm[Wall Street Journal]
Obama Wants Control Of Health-Care Debate [Time]
White House Floating "Snowe" Trigger [The Atlantic]