Barack Obama has tapped former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle to be his secretary of Health and Human Services, said Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic online, as well as his “point person on health care reform.” And it’s “a perfect role for Daschle.” He’s become a “true wonk” on health care in the past few years, and now he's got a shot to realize his big idea for a Federal Reserve-like “federal health board.”
That’s why Obama chose him, said Ezra Klein in The American Prospect online. You don’t pick someone with Daschle’s clout and experience getting legislation through Congress unless you’re serious about reforming health care. When Bill Clinton tried, he chose two “policy wonks”—including Hillary Clinton—with scant Washington savvy.
Daschle was a “Senate warhorse,” but he’s also “very liberal” on health care, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. The bigger signal that Obama means business is that Sen. Max Baucus—who is “more moderate, and cautious”—released a “policy blueprint” that closely resembles Obama’s plan. If Democrats makes this a priority, that’s where they’ll start.
Daschle’s ideas may be “pretty far to the left,” said Patrick Edaburn in The Moderate Voice, but thanks to the “budgetary restraints” Obama is inheriting, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to try them out. Picking Daschle may be “a sop to the left”—when Obama fails to enact universal health care, he can point to Daschle and “say he tried.”