Despite the cacophony and chaos that has become the hallmark of congressional town hall health care reform meetings as of late, the President has nonetheless elected to embark on a series of his own. Filled with pride, his supporters dutifully tout his bravery in the face of flagging poll numbers and dogged opposition. They swoon at the sight of their champion riding off to battle the forces of fear and hysteria with his cool demeanor, soft-spoken logic and zen-like rationality. They point to the subdued and respectful tone of his audiences as evidence that the fury over health care has reached it's zenith and will soon subside. Logic and reason will win the day and their knight in shining armor will deliver peace to the land and health care to it's weary people. However, a closer, more objective look reveals something distinctly different from the fairy tale the President's supporters so eagerly espouse with starry-eyed devotion. Are the President's forums more civil and placid in comparison to their raucous congressional counterparts? Clearly, but one should remain mindful of a few facts. First, despite our partisan passions and philosophical differences, the vast majority of Americans remain respectful of the institution and office of the presidency. Regardless of the individual, there is a level of decorum and propriety that is inherent to the office. He is The President of the United States, a title of unrivaled weight and distinction in both our political system and national history. Furthermore, beyond these intangible elements and social customs, there is the very real and tangible presence of the highly-trained, well-armed and psychologically-intimidating Secret Service. Should someone be so bold and dim-witted as to attempt to get in the President's face and shout him down, they would quickly find themselves forcefully removed from the venue and facing potential federal charges. The combination of these elements create an imposing atmosphere that discourages the catcalls and confrontations that have greeted Representatives and Senators in the dog days of their August break. Indeed, despite the earnest hopes of the President's supporters, the fury over health care reform rages unabated. Moreover, in spite of his best efforts, the President's attempts to extinguish the populist wildfire have been for naught. Neither prime time White House press conferences nor intimate town hall meetings have had any impact whatsoever on public opinion towards the overhaul of the nation's health care system or their understanding of the details and components of the competing proposals. Why is that, you ask? Because the President, much like the nation itself, knows dangerously little of the proposals' specifics. Nor, as demonstrated by his erroneous assertion of an AARP endorsement, does he know who supports what. How can that be, you ask? Because the President is following and not leading. Despite the President's references to "his proposals", the White House has failed to produce any bill whatsoever. Indeed, the confusing and contentious proposals at the heart of the conflagration are products of the House and Senate. Adding to the disoriented discourse is the fact the Senate bill remains a work in progress, still in the hands of negotiators in no less than three committees. In light of the President's deference to the leadership of the House and Senate in drafting the proposals for health care reform, perhaps he and the nation would be better served if the authors of the bills, the committee chairs, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid would take point in leading us through this steamy legislative jungle. Put the Speaker of the "People's House" in front of the people themselves, place the Majority Leader in front of the majority of Americans. Pelosi and Reid are the elected leaders of the Democratic Party in Congress. They should embrace the principal enshrined in their party's name and eagerly engage in the discourse of our democracy. Allow them to unequivocally demonstrate that the courage of their convictions is equal to their desire for the speedy passage of their proposals. Indeed, if they wish to be the architects of the Republic's future, let them be as forthright as those who laid it's foundation in the past. That dialogue, between the people and their elected representatives is at the very heart of American democracy, after all. Then again, perhaps that is nothing more than a quaint fable from the fairy tales of yore. Once upon a time, faithful readers. Once upon a time in America....... Stay tuned for further updates as events warrant and we see if there is indeed a happy ending to this story.