Hope for a rain out ". . . at this time the situation is sufficiently delicate that I think we need to leave it at that. If we can play a constructive role we will. We do not want to play a destructive role."

- President Clinton,
discussing the impending baseball strike

At his press conference last week, President Clinton expressed statesman-like caution about the potential for government intervention in the baseball strike that is scheduled to begin this week. No matter how "heartbreaking for the American people" such an event would be, the president said, the delicate state of affairs required a judicious restraint of government's hand.

We could only wish that health care reform were being undertaken with the same caution. But, of course, intervening in baseball would be messing with the national pastime, with its deep roots in history and complex hold on the American psyche. Far too complex a situation to barge in half-cocked. Better to limit government to manageable projects where it can play a "constructive" role, like overhaul of the health care system.

Too cynical?

In fact, with some good-old-fashioned arm-twisting and generous bestowals from the pork barrel, the president and his congressional allies might finish off a health care package by the end of the month. The baseball strike might linger into October, which is too close to the elections to meddle into and risk the blame for failure to restore this epic season.

One might argue that this is too cynical a view, and that with a little bipartisan cooperation this nation once and for all could demonstrate its compassion for those among us without health security and get behind the legislation to provide universal health coverage to Americans.