Blowing It

President Obama had a tragically distracted first year courtesy of his obsession with health reform during a period in which voters' minds were on jobs and the economy.

President Obama dared congressional Republicans today to campaign for repeal of the new health care law.
Now, he needs desperately to turn his attention to jobs, but he can't, because he has to hit the road and convince Americans that the bill he wasted a year on isn't as destructive as they think.
"My attitude is, go for it!," Obama told a cheering crowd in Iowa City, Iowa. "If they want to have that fight, we can have it!"
The president would love it if the GOP repeats his own mistake and stays fixated on health reform. It would be easy to obsess over the new law as a way to deal with the humiliation of its eventual passage, and Republicans appear ready to oblige him.
The president also said he doesn't believe voters "are going to put the insurance industry back in the driver's seat. We've already been there -- we're not going back!"
But if the GOP keeps the conversation on health care, they're letting Obama off the hook. Instead, they should be focusing on JOBS while Obama campaigns retroactively for the new law. That leaves Obama where he's been for a year - out of sync with voters, while Republicans hone in on what's important.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, in a column written for Iowa's largest newspaper, wrote that the new law should be repealed and replaced because it gives government too much control over health care. The Republican lawmaker criticized higher taxes and more controls over doctors and Americans who are now required to buy health insurance.
It's time for the GOP to take control back and leave Democrats hanging out to dry on the bill America hates. I assume they won't, seduced by numbers like these from a new CBS poll.
The poll finds that 62 percent want Congressional Republicans to keep challenging the bill, while 33 percent say they should not do so. Nearly nine in ten Republicans and two in three independents want the GOP to keep challenging. Even 41 percent of Democrats support continued challenges.
And if they can force Obama's attention onto the economy, the President won't be able to spend time selling the health care plan. Either way, he loses. But Republicans are very capable of blowing this big opportunity and diminishing the potential for November.