How many Nobel Prizes would you trade for Sen. Olympia Snowe's vote?
President Obama is now at the point in his presidency where symbolic wins -- or concocted wins -- just don't matter. They may actually hurt, as a narrative emerges of a president who's better at receiving accolades that racking up achievements.
As he confronts a base that's growing anxious -- on gay rights, on health care, on Afghanistan -- plus a right that's growing confident in its ability to hold up his initiatives -- it's time for some real victories. Tuesday's vote in the Senate Finance Committee should be one of those.
Which is what makes the start of yet another health care week distressing for the Obama White House: All that time around the table didn't make for perfect manners -- or agreements that are anywhere near perfect.
Is this what he gets for trying?
"After months of collaboration on President Obama's attempt to overhaul the nation's health-care system, the insurance industry plans to strike out against the effort on Monday with a report warning that the typical family premium in 2019 could cost $4,000 more than projected," Ceci Connolly reports in The Washington Post.
"The critique, coming one day before a critical Senate committee vote on the legislation, sparked a sharp response from the Obama administration. It also signaled an end to the fragile detente between two central players in this year's health-care reform drama," Connolly writes. "Though open to dispute, the analysis is certain to raise questions about whether Obama can deliver on his twin promises of extending coverage to millions of uninsured Americans while also curbing skyrocketing health-care costs." (continues here)