Props to Obama on Healthcare Win

Wednesday, 24 Mar 2010 10:27 AM

By Jon Friedman

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Just when it appeared that President Obama was going to go down for the count in his presidency, he emerges with a healthcare bill victory tucked away in his back pocket.

Even if you hate him, even if you fear him, even if you loathe him on principle alone, you have to give the man his props. Obama proved one thing here above all others: He will be a very tough man to defeat when the chips are down.

What Obama did that was so impressive wasn't exploit the American pop culture — just as he is supposed to do. Obama once again used television masterfully, giving well timed speeches in areas of the country where his message was likely to resonate the strongest.

Sure, he looks like an opportunist. But so what? That's politics, right?

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What the heck — the president got nearly as much mileage, in terms of  favorable media coverage, from releasing his March Madness predictions as he did for his recent speeches. Even the most strident Republican strategist had to feel tempted to tip his or her cap at that maneuver.

Obama showed the quality America was beginning to question above all: grit. Oh sure, we knew he was brainy and charismatic and photogenic. But could he govern? There is a huge difference between leading and a nation and campaigning for its top job.

Could Obama rise to the occasion? Would he be able to sway a decidedly hostile faction of Congress and make them follow his lead?

He did it, all right.

I'm not suggesting the suddenly triumphant POTUS is out of the woods yet — far from it. He has to wrestle in the alligator pond of the November mid-term elections. When that's over, he'll launch directly into the 2012 re-election campaign.

Give the president a break. Hey, his NCAA brackets are in a shambles, you know. But fortunately for Obama, his presidency is looking formidable again.

Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch. Click here to see his latest column.

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