By Peter Roff, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Rather than a victory lap on healthcare, the White House is signaling that President Barack Obama will immediately plunge back into they fray. A surprise trip a la George W. Bush to Afghanistan to visit the troops and an arms reduction agreement having burnished his national security credentials, he is now ready, his closest advisers say, to turn his attention to the rest of his domestic policy agenda.
"An emboldened President Barack Obama will take a stronger hand with Congress in coming weeks, planning to push lawmakers to pass new regulations for Wall Street by September, the second anniversary of the meltdown," veteran Washington reporter Mike Allen wrote Sunday in Politico.
"The spring offensive, if successful, would allow Obama to claim concrete progress on all of his domestic priorities, despite a 'lost year' between the passage of a stimulus package in February 2009 and the signing of health reform last week," Allen wrote--and he's right.
The Republicans, having managed to hold together in their opposition to the now-passed healthcare, may be much easier for the White House to pick off in groups of two, three, five, and 10 when the subject moves to jobs, to the need to crack down on Wall Street, to fix the failing public schools, and to do other things the American people tell pollsters they want to see done. By climbing the highest mountain first--healthcare--Obama may find the rest of the trek comparatively easier as Democrats head into the fall elections.