FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
"The time for talk is over. It's time to vote."
So says President Barack Obama about Health care reform, which has consumed almost the entire first year of his presidency.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/11/art.obama.jpg caption=""]
As this thing moves toward some sort of resolution - one way or another - it seems it will leave an indelible mark on Mr. Obama's legacy.
After nearly a year of debates, town hall meetings and angry Tea Partiers, closed-door meetings in Washington, thousands and thousands of pages of legislation, and a televised day-long summit - it's not clear if the Democrats have the votes to turn the president's signature issue into law.
Even though Democrats are poised to use a procedure called reconciliation in the Senate - where they need only a simple majority - it's far from a done deal. Over in the House - Nancy Pelosi may not have the necessary votes either, with some Democrats worried about abortion and others just worried about getting re-elected.
Critics say President Obama left too much power in the hands of Congress; he didn't step in early enough and assert his leadership. Instead he waited until the bill had become a mangled mess with everybody's fingerprints on it, except his.
Now the president is out there nearly every day giving campaign-style speeches... but it might be too little too late. A large majority of Americans don't want the current bill.
There are still more than two years until the president would be up for re-election; and it's worth pointing out that although Bill Clinton failed to pass health care reform during his first term... he went on to be re-elected.
Here’s my question to you: How will the fate of the health care reform bill ultimately affect Pres. Obama's legacy?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Mark in Oklahoma City writes:
Jack, For some inexplicable reason, Obama has focused like a laser on forcing the issue of health care reform when all along his number one task should have been creating jobs! We see now that he is going to accomplish neither. His time and energy wasted on trying to slay the health care dragon will come at a huge price to him come time for his re-election bid.
Chris in Philadelphia writes:
If it fails, he will be remembered as the president who let Pelosi hijack his domestic priority and lost and he may not recover. If he is successful with the vote, and the bill works as planned it will BE his legacy. He was able to do what others have tried for decades.
Layne in Illinois writes:
Jack, It's his Waterloo, pure and simple. If he had taken the reins in the beginning, and kept them all the way through, this would have been resolved one way or the other months ago. Instead, he proved what the rest of the country knew years ago: Congress is so grid-locked that it can't agree on what day of the week it is. I hate to say it, but after November's elections, he may well be a lame-duck.
It's my hope that he will be the president who finally got something done for the people, against all odds, and the hundreds of millions of corporate dollars fighting him. We're getting crushed out here by medical costs – seriously.
Peg in New York writes:
Badly. Ramming it thru is no way to reform a thing. Yes, I am a Democrat.
Adem in California writes:
Big time, just like war was for George Bush!
Craig in Houston writes:
President Obama has learned a valuable lesson in his first year in office. He can't just point the way. He has to lead the Congress and the country by the hand. I think his biggest failing this past year was naivete. He assumed the system would work the way it was intended.