Unfortunately for the President, the government option is nothing but trouble for him. Republicans say they won't support a bill with one, liberals say they won't support a bill without one. By invoking it tonight, he'll lose his best opportunity truly to hit the "reset" button in the healthcare debate as far as the GOP goes; by signalling his willingness to bargain it away, he'll lose the good will of his far-left base (which will no doubt go along with whatever he wants anyway).
Tonight, expect to hear plenty of sad stories about people who are being treated "unfairly" by the current system. Get ready for the righteous denunciations of "insurance companies." And then remember:
More than 80% of Americans are satisfied with both their health care and their health insurance.
The gang who can't even get the stimulus right are aiming to take over your health care. Does anyone really think that government control will make the distribution of medical care more efficient, less expensive, and of higher quality? Please. If you believe that, Bernie Madoff has a great retirement plan for you. As I noted back in June, government health care will combine the efficiency of the post office with the compassion of the IRS.
All of the President's claims, even taken at face value, can't be true. As Michael Barone put it succinctly:
We are going to save money by spending money. We are going to solve our fiscal problems with a program that will increase the national debt by $1,000,000,000,000 over a decade. We are going to guarantee you can keep your current insurance with a bill that encourages your employer to stop offering it.
The list goes on. We are going to improve health care for seniors by cutting $500,000,000,000 from Medicare. We aren't going to insure illegal aliens, except that we won't have any verification provisions to see that they can't apply and get benefits.
The President is betting that he can orate his way around a disastrous clunker of a health care plan. We'll see tonight whether he's right -- but absent a new approach and a new plan, all tonight is about is more Obama rhetoric.