Short Take: How the Republican Party saved the Obama presidency

The Republican brain trust can thank itself for Obama’s ability to pass health care. Not having a real plan of their own to offer, they opted instead to turn the vote on the health care bill into a referendum on the Obama presidency. So whereas Democrats who were unhappy with the bill, such as Dennis ...

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

The Republican brain trust can thank itself for Obama's ability to pass health care. Not having a real plan of their own to offer, they opted instead to turn the vote on the health care bill into a referendum on the Obama presidency. So whereas Democrats who were unhappy with the bill, such as Dennis Kucinich, might be willing to vote no on something that was only a piece of legislation, he could not cast a vote that would spell the effective end for the president and the for the party. Obama has recognized this point and has used this line of reasoning in the past few days more effectively than any other single rational to vote for the bill.

The Republican brain trust can thank itself for Obama’s ability to pass health care. Not having a real plan of their own to offer, they opted instead to turn the vote on the health care bill into a referendum on the Obama presidency. So whereas Democrats who were unhappy with the bill, such as Dennis Kucinich, might be willing to vote no on something that was only a piece of legislation, he could not cast a vote that would spell the effective end for the president and the for the party. Obama has recognized this point and has used this line of reasoning in the past few days more effectively than any other single rational to vote for the bill.

David Rothkopf is visiting professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His latest book is The Great Questions of Tomorrow. He has been a longtime contributor to Foreign Policy and was CEO and editor of the FP Group from 2012 to May 2017. Twitter: @djrothkopf

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