By MARK PENN
Published February 20, 2009
If the $800 billion stimulus bill works, Barack Obama will go down as a great president who took bold and decisive action at a time of growing national crisis — and the midterm elections, and even his reelection, will be a breeze.
If it fails, moderate Democrats in swing states will find themselves back in the private sector in two years and Obama will face what President Bill Clinton faced in 1995: a tough uphill battle.
If you watch the TV show “House,” you can easily recognize Obama’s move. In the show, a brilliant diagnostician seeks to solve medical mysteries by trying a series of different approaches on patients who are often hurtling toward an inexplicable death. After several attempts that fail, he tries an unconventional, risky treatment that works and the patient is saved — most of the time. Occasionally, he chooses the wrong course, wiping out the immune system in the process — and the patient dies.
Obama displayed leadership, guts, decisiveness and political savvy to move one of the biggest pieces of legislation in history through Congress in record time.