News broke this morning that the president was postponing his trip to Australia and Indonesia until June. He'd already delayed the trip, moving his departure date back to Sunday. There are a couple of ways to read this. The first reaction may be that Obama is worried about health-care reform failing in the House and wants to be on hand to twist some arms if necessary. Ben Smith offers a counterpoint:
The decision to cancel his trip may look like a sign of urgency, but it's also, in the language of Washington, a sign of tremendous confidence: You don't set the president of the United States up to experience humiliation in person. It's being taken right now by people on both sides of the fight as the clearest sign yet that Nancy Pelosi has the votes.
Reporters blogging for NEWSWEEK's archnemesis, the one whose name I dare not type (rhymes with lime), retort that the possibility of failure didn't deter Obama from making a last-ditch effort to win the Olympics for Chicago or campaign for Martha Coakley.
My take, however, is that this is a signal of discontent in the Senate. If the House is going to vote on Sunday, which looks likely, then I'll bet that Pelosi will know Sunday morning if she has the votes or not. It won't matter if Obama is getting on a plane that day. I just can't imagine Pelosi waiting until the very last second like that, only to ask the president to work his mojo in the minutes before she calls for a vote. Now that the CBO score is out—and it's a positive one for Dems—I think Obama's wooing work in the House will be done in the next two days. So where does that leave us? With a very nervous Senate, not to mention a Senate with a minority leader intent on using procedural tactics to delay passage. My bet is that's what's really bothering the administration today.