Short Fuse on Healthcare and the Obama Presidency

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It was expected that Barack Obama would be celebrating his one year anniversary as President of the United States having passed healthcare reform. Instead the President and the Democrats received a stunning defeat as Republican Scott Brown won the election for the late Teddy Kennedy’s Senate seat.

The Democrat loss in Massachusetts seemed like a cruel twist of fate since Teddy Kennedy is portrayed as making healthcare reform “the cause of my life.” President Obama made healthcare reform a key part of his political campaign and his first year agenda, and has come closer than any of his predecessors to enacting healthcare reform. Having already passed the House and the Senate, Congressional negotiators were in the process of melding the two bills at the time of the Massachusetts Senate election.

Saturn represents the law of cause and effect.* What we put out, we get back. Saturn’s energy can seem harsh and restrictive, but this is Saturn’s way of reminding us that we must be accountable and take responsibility for our actions by investing the time and effort required to achieve our goals.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley learned the hard way what happens when you don’t put enough effort into a political campaign. A lack of strong planetary influences to her natal chart during the campaign reflects her lack of motivation as evidenced by her refusing to campaign in front of Fenway Park in the cold.

Eclipses are harbingers of major change. The January 15 Solar Eclipse in Saturn-ruled Capricorn squaring Coakley’s progressed** Saturn in Libra reflected that Massachusetts voters gave her the cold shoulder for failing to make the effort to relate to them. Coakley and the Democratic Party committed a foul in Saturn’s playbook by acting as if Kennedy’s seat was reserved for Democrats only; failing to grasp Saturn’s no work, no reward mantra.

Saturn in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn squaring Scott Brown’s natal Mars in Libra motivated him to aggressively campaign for the Senate seat. And with Neptune in Aquarius squaring natal Jupiter, Brown fervently believed he could win by portraying himself as an independent even though he voted with Republicans a majority of the time as a State Senator. Libra is ruled by Venus and with his Venus conjoining Pluto in Virgo, Brown presented the image of a down to earth “regular guy” who kept his backing by the Republican party and powerful special interests in the shadows and never acknowledged the Party in his victory speech. Venus (banks) conjunct Pluto (taxes) and Venus squaring natal Jupiter in Pluto-ruled Scorpio reflects Brown’s opposition to proposals to tax bank profits to recoup bailout money and his opposition to taxing bank executive compensation.

The energies at an eclipse are influential over the next several months. Saturn’s energies were particularly powerful as the planet appeared stationary from Earth’s vantage point as it began moving retrograde until May 30, 2010. Saturn is a slow and cautious energy that presents delays and obstacles along the path in order to test our discipline and perseverance.

Saturn is fear. On the surface it appears that the Solar Eclipse exactly conjoining Obama’s natal Saturn in Capricorn has caused him to retreat from healthcare reform, fearing that the rejection of a Democrat to fill Teddy Kennedy’s seat served as a public referendum against healthcare reform. The influence of Mars retrograde in Leo exactly conjoining his Sun last week put the President in a fighting mood. With Saturn and Pluto impacting President Obama’s natal Venus in Cancer, he decided to channel his anger and frustration over healthcare reform into attacking the banks (Venus), feeling that his actions would resonate with public sentiment (Cancer).

The Sun/Leo and Saturn/Capricorn represents leadership. The characteristic of a true leader is a person who does not retreat from a setback, but instead is able to quickly reevaluate the situation and take the steps necessary to get the job done.

President Obama formally announced his objective to achieve healthcare reform on May 13, 2009 when Saturn was stationary and about to shift into direct motion. Saturn rules history. The President believed that by allowing Congress to craft the legislation and by seeking to get all the players in the healthcare industry on board, would avoid repeating the mistakes made by the Clintons.

Saturn can present basic facts and fundamentals that are easily understood or it can be highly structured, complex and bureaucratic. A big mistake made by Obama and the Democrats is that healthcare reform became too complex to be able to explain to anyone beyond policy wonks. This made it all too easy for opponents to attack it.

If the Democrat’s proposal had been straightforward in addressing the abuses of health insurance that people most feared, it would have been difficult for the Republicans to mount an aggressive attack against it. The first issue is that the public’s fear of insurance abuse was not high enough, and the second issue is that the public was convinced by the bill’s detractors that they would be worse off under reform. Complexity made defending the bill nearly impossible.

Saturn rules time. Obama and the Democrats allowed deadlines to be pushed back through the summer in the hope of garnering Republican support even though Republicans openly declared their strategy to destroy healthcare reform would be the President's “Waterloo.” By the time the House passed their version of the bill on November 7, Saturn had left Virgo (healthcare) and moved into Libra and was about to make the first of three challenging alignments to Pluto.

In the House, Saturn squaring Pluto the ruler of insurance and life and death issues reflected the House bill’s severe restrictions on insurance coverage of abortion. Pluto in Capricorn describes the powerful special interests that push their agenda at the expense of the general public. Saturn and Pluto impacting the USA natal Venus when the Senate passed their bill December 24 pushed the leadership into negotiating concessions to motivate a couple of Democratic Senators to support the bill.

The Unions played hardball and withheld their support for Martha Coakley, angry that the Senate bill would tax (Pluto) some union members high cost health insurance plans. Saturn square Pluto describes political pressures and power struggles. The Senate is telling the House to pass the Senate bill as is while House Speaker Pelosi is trying to use what little leverage she has to convince the Senate to pass a Corrections bill covering the House’s objections to the Senate’s version. Even though the Republicans during the Bush Administration used reconciliation a number of times to pass legislation, the Senate is afraid of being accused by Republicans of “ramming” a bill through to satisfy the House. With Saturn squaring Pluto and Mars retrograde in Leo opposing Venus and the Sun this week, the players would rather let their pride get in the way than agree to pass the Senate bill in the House, avoiding confrontation.

The Solar Eclipse conjoined President Obama’s Saturn in the sector of his chart representing activity taking place behind the scenes. The President’s recognition that time is not on his side is confirmed by the hiring of his former campaign manager David Plouffe as a political consultant. In an op-ed piece in Sunday’s Washington Post, Plouffe remarked that Democrats “own” healthcare since they already voted on it. Plouffe wants the House to pass the Senate’s version so Obama can sign the bill into law, giving the public enough time to see for themselves that the bill is not what opponents have made it out to be.

Challenging aspects between Saturn and Pluto represent economic contraction (Saturn) that usually follows a period of excess spending and debt (Pluto). The last time Saturn and Pluto were squaring each other in cardinal (action-oriented) signs was in 1930-1 when Saturn opposed Pluto. Saturn/Pluto influences tend to limit the party in power and have correlated to Presidents pushing healthcare reform.

The Medicare Act passed during the time when Saturn in Pisces opposed Uranus and Pluto in Virgo from 1965-66. During 2010 Saturn is opposing Uranus and both of these planets are squaring Pluto. In 1974 when Saturn was squaring Pluto in the waning part of its cycle as it is now, President Nixon introduced healthcare reform and worked with Teddy Kennedy and then House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Wilbur Mills. Saturn/Pluto describes how the power players tarnished reputations (Nixon's resignation over Watergate and Mills’ fall from power after being caught drunk with stripper Fannie Fox), brought an end to healthcare reform.

As Saturn conjoined Pluto in 1982, Republicans lost House seats to Democrats primarily over high unemployment. Saturn was in Libra as it is now. Saturn square Pluto in 1993 to early 1994 occurred during the Clinton's healthcare plan and the Republicans winning the midterm election with their "Contract with America." Saturn opposed Pluto in 2001-2 and marked the first election in several decades that the President’s party gained seats in Congress to become the majority party. Saturn/Pluto aspects relate to terrorism and natural disasters that cause destruction and loss of life on a massive scale.

President Obama is resonating with the energies of Saturn square Pluto by proposing a three year “freeze” (Saturn) affecting $447 billion of discretionary spending in the federal budget in an attempt to contract the $1.4 trillion budget deficit (Pluto). With the Moon in Cancer forming challenging alignments to the Sun in Aquarius and Mercury in Saturn-ruled Capricorn, the President will announce a grab bag of tax cuts and credits aimed at helping families with child and elder care at tonight’s State of the Union address. Jupiter in Pisces forming a favorable aspect to Pluto in Capricorn in the sector of the State of the Union chart representing the workforce and healthcare offers an opportunity to expand measures that relate to job creation and healthcare.

We all have a choice as to how we will respond to various planetary influences. President Obama could choose to repeat Teddy Kennedy’s mistakes by allowing the Unions and liberals to squash healthcare reform just because it’s not perfect OR convince them to be more pragmatic and learn the incremental approach from the antiabortion crowd. Teddy Kennedy’s biggest regret doesn’t have to be President Obama’s.

After the intense influences of Mars, Saturn, and Pluto start to slowly dissipate following Saturday’s Full Moon that conjoins President Obama’s Sun, he can release the fear and frustration felt over the last few weeks. He can tell the Unions to turn their tepid support for the Senate bill into letting House members know that it is better than no reform at all. If President Obama goes back to being the leader on healthcare reform that he was meant to be, then there’s a good possibility that he will be signing the Senate version of the healthcare bill during the Aquarius New Moon cycle (February 13 – March 15) as the New Moon exactly opposes his natal Uranus in Leo.

Aquarius and its planetary ruler Uranus represent progressive change as there’s a greater tendency to want to shakeup inertia and the status quo. Barack Obama was elected President the day Saturn opposed Uranus. His rise to become the Democratic presidential candidate is reflected by the USA’s natal Moon in Aquarius opposing his natal Uranus in Leo. Voters wanted a change from the status quo.

President Obama does not have much time left before Democrats will become too focused on the November midterm elections. If he fails to sign healthcare legislation into law by mid-March, healthcare reform is probably finished. And so is the presidency of Barack Obama and the Democratic majority as the public will consider them to be ineffective at bringing the change they voted for.

President Obama: August 4, 1961 7:24 PM Honolulu, HI
USA: July 4, 1776 5:10 PM Philadelphia, PA
Martha Coakley: July 14, 1953 time unknown Pittsfield, MA
Scott Brown: September 12, 1959 time unknown Kittery, ME

** A mathematical calculation that moves the planets forward in time as a method of prediction.

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