David Corn analyzes last night's speech and concludes that, for the most part, Obama was asking independent voters to reconsider the president. One crucial element, Corn suggests, was how Obama approached that now dreaded topic of healthcare reform.
He pitched this initiative as he has done so before: protecting Americans from "the worst practices of the insurance industry," giving small businesses and uninsured Americans a chance to obtain affordable coverage, lowering the deficit by $1 trillion in the next 20 years. But he added, "I take my share of the blame for not explaining it more clearly to the American people." And he added that he realized that "all the lobbying and horse-trading" had "left most Americans wondering what's in it for them."
This was a significant presidential mea culpa. But Obama had little to add other than to ask "everyone to take another look at the plan we've proposed." And he pleaded, "Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people." This was not a call to arms. Nor did he provide much guidance to his fellow Democrats, who have been struggling to complete that job, or to citizens who look at the inside-the-Beltway process and cannot sort it out.
Was it enough?