The president missed another opportunity in his health-care speech before the Congress – actually the nation, as it was designed to be – when he bloviated for what seemed an eternity on a subject that might have required 20-25 minutes. His first mistake was in turning the event into a menagerie of monarchical monkeyshines, what with all the pomp and circumstance of parading the cabinet secretaries, with probably a huge sprinkling of current “czars” (they come and go), before a supposedly admiring populace in anticipation of his grand entrance – all the kissy-poo stuff that people recognize for what it is, a huge sham by a bunch of bureaucrats who mostly hate each other. An Oval-Office straight-talk without all the ballyhoo and applause would have been much more effective.
His second mistake was in practically ORDERING the Congress to get off its derriere and do something, despite the fact that by his own admission in not even reading HR #3200 he hasn’t bothered to recognize what the House has attempted so far. He apparently hasn’t picked up on the latest Pew Research Center Overview (02 September), which indicates that only 37% of the populace has a favorable view of Congress, while 52% absolutely has an unfavorable view (a 24-year low).
So…instead of coming up with something on his own, notwithstanding his own approval rating that’s tanking right now, he decided to lecture an outfit most people wouldn’t trust to take their temperature. Public disapproval of President Obama's handling of health care has skyrocketed to 52 percent, according to the Associated Press-GfK poll, as reported by Fox News, the one primary media outlet not acting as the president’s shill.
In the speech, he made it clear that solving the health-care problem wouldn’t be “kicked down the road” any longer, then proceeded to kick it right back to Speaker Pelosi and Senate Leader Reid (details to be worked out, said he), with visions of the ever echoing mantra of bipartisanship, something his own democrats eschew with 24/7 fervor. This reminds one of the Clinton debacle of 1993, wherein, instead of kicking the problem anywhere, the president dumped it in Hillary’s lap and the rest is history. Concocted in secrecy and buried under layers of bureaucracy and red tape, her plan was DOA in Congress. According to Representative Charles Boustany’s rebuttal speech, the current House plan initiates 35 new bureaucracies.
Strangely, Obama doesn’t seem to understand that partisanship is not blocking progress. Indeed, it doesn’t even need to be considered since the democrats have the votes to pass anything they like, with not even so much as a fare-thee-well to the republicans. The hitch lies in the fact that the PEOPLE are the enemy of Obama’s – at least until now – representation of the “plan.” They see it as a government takeover of THEIR health – translated life and death – and they don’t trust the government out of their sight, especially with something as deadly serious as that.
Obama does seem to understand now that 85-90% of Americans have health insurance and that they’re satisfied with treatment, notwithstanding all the ballyhoo about other industrialized nations providing better treatment. His minions do not help his case when they affirm otherwise. So…he seemed to give up his “government option” or “single payer” positions, upon which he has been quite outspoken. He understands finally that throwing out the baby with the bath water is dumb, which is what a government-run system would entail.
He made some good points. The disadvantaged, whether victims or not of their own actions, must be covered. A good start would be the providing of either tax-relief or vouchers that would be used to purchase insurance. Obama had the good sense to not claim that 47 million Americans are not covered. His figure was some 30 million or so, but the actual figures seem to be much lower than that. He could have helped his case by insisting that everyone have access to ALL insurance companies instead of just the ones mandated in each state, thus encouraging cost-saving competition. He must be heavily indebted to insurance companies. Also, he was disingenuous when he claimed that the American Medical Association favored the House plan since a mere 17% of the nation’s doctors are members of the AMA.
When the president attempted to explain how a government plan would be funded he made much of removing “waste, fraud, and abuse” from Medicare. If this were a priority, he could have signed an executive order on 20 January for this process to be started immediately. He didn’t. What everyone knows is that this cliché-terminology actually means cutting benefits. People understand that Obama is leading the nation into bankruptcy, whether through ignorance or design, and that universal health-care – 17% of the GDP – would be the final nail in the coffin.
The big laugh and perhaps longest applause occurred regarding Obama’s mention of tort reform, anathema to the American Bar Association, one of the democrats’ biggest supporters. Congress is a constituency of lawyers. Obama and Biden are lawyers. Why the laugh? The Congress is not about to give up the cash-cow known as class-action and other suits or doctor-liability suits for everything from coffee-spilled-on-the-crotch burns to hangnails occasioned by shabby nail polish from China.
The tackiest part of the speech came near the end when Obama did another funeral for Ted Kennedy. Predictably, the cameras homed in on Kennedy’s widow, sitting between the wives of Obama and Biden. This went on and on (Obama naturally read a personal note from Kennedy) but the nadir was reached when Obama invoked the names of republican senators McCain and Hatch, both of whom have been forceful in their repudiation of the current effort. It was more than just pandering. Obama doesn’t seem to understand that “common people” easily recognized his transparent elitism in actually thinking them too dumb to see this ploy as silly and an insult to their intelligence. It definitely failed as “one for the Gipper.”