Obama himself does something else, etc. (with many more people involved).
Oh yeah? Then what did
Obama do during the fight for healthcare reform? To me it seemed he was largely AWOL. Evidently you disagree. So what did
Gah. Seriously? Shall I answer what he did to win the presidency in the first place, too?
As in, it's kind of a long answer that comes down to "he did a hell of a lot."
I could do the long boring post but it'd be long and boring and take time that I really should be spending on other things.
Although I just realized that there must be long and less-boring articles out there already. So I looked for some.
one is just what I'm looking for but I can't find a free version anywhere. If you have a subscription to TNR or if you can find it where I didn't, have at it. The visible parts do give a bit of a clue, for example:
Barack Obama, the law professor, was acting like a prosecutor. He’d invited Grassley to the Oval Office, to talk about the senator’s concerns. But he was using the occasion to confront Grassley about his latest statements. “Tell me what amendment you want, tell me what language you want,” one administration official recalls the president saying. And then, when Grassley couldn’t point to anything, the official says the president reminded Grassley that the amendment on end-of-life counseling had come from a Republican, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, and simply paid for professional advice when people wanted it.
Some other random stuff:
Passage appeared to be assured only after Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak announced in the late afternoon that he and a group of antiabortion Democrats, who had pushed for more restrictive language in the original House bill, had been satisfied that the Senate version would not allow the use of federal funds to pay for the procedure. That only came after President Obama promised to sign an executive order reaffirming that the bill would maintain a "consistency with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion." In reality, that executive order was more a symbolic move than an actual concession; the bill's supporters have insisted all along that it does nothing to change the current federal policy, known as the Hyde Amendment, which has been in effect since 1976.
On the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, the President and his team were waiting and working the phones to make sure the final votes were nailed down.
And so, from Obama’s perspective, passing a health care plan this fall isn’t primarily a question of whether to include an “individual mandate” requiring every American to have insurance or how fully to regulate providers or even how to hit back against “Harry and Louise”–type attack ads, although his aides spend time contemplating all of those things. It’s more about navigating the dueling personalities and complex agendas within his own party’s Congress. Rather than laying out an intricate plan and then trying to sell it on the Hill, as Clinton did, Obama’s strategy seems to be exactly the opposite — to sell himself to Congress first and worry about the details later. As Emanuel likes to tell his West Wing staff: “The only nonnegotiable principle here is success. Everything else is negotiable.”
Obama hardly knew Baucus during his abbreviated Senate term; Baucus remarked to me offhandedly that Obama “didn’t really serve in the Senate,” which seems to be the prevailing sentiment among senators who saw him for only a brief time before he took off to run for president. But Obama’s White House has been trying mightily, in ways both overt and indirect, to make up for lost time. Since the inauguration, Baucus has been to the White House twice for personal meetings with the president and once for a dinner at which he was seated next to the first lady. (They talked about Sidwell Friends, the school from which Baucus’s son graduated and where the Obama girls are now.)
On a flight to Trinidad aboard Air Force One in April, Obama called Baucus to his cabin — along with Charles Rangel, Baucus’s counterpart in the House — to talk health care for a half-hour or so. “He just turned to me and said, ‘This is my No. 1 issue,’ ” Baucus recalled. “He wants meaningful, comprehensive health care. He doesn’t want to pass something where everybody gets flu shots.”
Perhaps most significant, Rahm Emanuel hired Jim Messina, who was Baucus’s longtime chief of staff and who worked last year on the Obama campaign, as a deputy chief of staff at the White House — a move that seems not entirely coincidental. Messina wasn’t just another aide to Baucus; when Messina informed the senator, on the eve of Baucus’s son’s wedding last summer, that he was leaving the Senate to go work for Obama’s campaign, Baucus amended his dinner toast to say that he was losing not one son but two. The two men talk more or less constantly, giving Baucus a close ally in the White House and the president an influential advocate.
(Same article -- previous part of the article mentions how important Baucus was to the whole endeavor.)
OK this is getting long and boring and taking time I don't have. So the short version is -- Obama did a shitload of stuff, much of it subtle and not-obvious, to get health care reform passed. And the fact that he's OK with that -- if he doesn't get as much credit as he should because a lot of what he does is subtle and not-obvious, so long as it gets DONE -- is part of what I like about him.