Overhauling the nation's health care system has been a goal of numerous presidents dating back to Theodore Roosevelt — and Obama's ability to get it done has some pundits making lofty comparisons. Ed Schultz of MSNBC says that, based on passing health care refom, "this president will go down in history as one of the greatest first-term presidents ever." At least one Reagan-admiring conservative is comparing him to the Gipper. Did Obama's win on this issue really assure his legacy? (Watch Obama's post-health care passage remarks)
This is the beginning of the next chapter: At last, after months of "sour" headlines and "political bickering," Obama's presidency has been "resurrected," says Sasha Abramsky in The Huffington Post. During the 2008 election, Obama convinced us he could be a "transformative president." Now, in "securing a reform" that has eluded leaders from FDR to Clinton, the President's "legacy is beginning to be cemented in place."
"The resurrection of a transformative president"
This is a turning point — for the worse: The consequences of this vote are bleak, says Mark Steyn in the National Review. Everything from "longer wait times, fewer doctors, [and] more bureaucracy," to "the end of the Pax Americana" and maybe even "global Armageddon" as we go broke and our rivals overtake our military edge. That will no doubt make Barack Obama "one of the most consequential presidents in history." But for all the wrong reasons.
"Happy Dependence Day!"
A stunning achievement, but at what price? The passage of healthcare legislation makes Obama "one of the handful of presidents who found a way to reshape the nation's social welfare system," says David E. Sanger in the New York Times. But the "political atmosphere of 2010 resembles neither 1965 nor 1933." A mid-term electoral drubbing based on this "polarizing" piece of legislation could put an "end to Mr. Obama's mandate." The President "proved willing to risk all" over this. It remains to be seen what more he can achieve.
"Obama's health care victory carries a cost"
SEE THE WEEK'S LATEST COVERAGE OF THE HEALTH CARE BILL:
• Health care reform: By the numbers
• Health care: Winners and losers
• Health care reform: What's next?
• The Tea Party's Capital Hill protests: "Disturbingly racist"?
• Abortion: Who compromised the most?