President Obama last night: “Well, the time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed.” Translation: Oh, shut up.
Joe Wilson, the South Carolina Republican, certainly didn’t hush up. Mr. Wilson brought a whiff of August into the chamber, shouting, “You lie.” Now, I am all for civility, but Mr. Wilson, who has since apologized had a point. (More on this later.) (For a shocked and stunned reax to Wilson, here is the Washington Post—it reports that a pastor somewhere or other is praying for Obama to die, somehow equating Wilson’s outburst to that. Still, it’s a funny piece, the best line being that Nancy Pelosi’s “chin dropped.” You gotta love that.)
And, Mr. President, we the people aren’t going to shut up. The president did nothing last night to change the debate. It was a so-so speech, of full things he’s said before, vague and misleading in the extreme. John Hinderacker at Powerline pointed out the most interesting hole in the speech:
One striking aspect of the speech was that Obama kept talking about the “plan” that he “announced” tonight–but there is no plan; not in writing, anyway. Not unless Obama meant Nancy Pelosi’s House bill, but he didn’t seem to, since he made a point of saying that details remain to be filled in, referred to work still going on in committee, and said that “his plan” is open to alternatives to the public option. This vagueness gives him a sort of deniability: what he was describing was more his concept of the qualities health care legislation should have, rather than a specific bill. Whether that was politically smart remains to be seen. So far, vagueness hasn’t seemed to be the President’s friend on this issue.
Fred Barnes observed that Obama had repeated lots of false claims he’s previously made, didn’t propose torte reform—which would solve lots of problems right there but outrage torte lawyers, a key Democrat constituency—and didn’t have a plan to pay for Obamacare. Barnes noted:
President Obama’s speech to Congress last night can be summed up rather easily. It was 40 minutes of boilerplate followed by a socko, emotional finish exploiting the death of Senator Teddy Kennedy. Which leads to this question: was Obama’s finishing kick sufficient to achieve his goal of “reframing” the national debate on health care that hasn’t been going his way? I don’t think so.
Obama didn’t come close to offering a persuasive explanation of how he’d pay for ObamaCare. And that remains his biggest problem. He promises much, much more in guaranteed health benefits and says it will cost less. Even Obama himself couldn’t really believe that. No one else who can add and subtract does. Cut “waste, fraud, and abuse?” Not a chance.
Politics Daily had a nice piece on the contrasting reactions to the speech at Fox and MSNBC—Keith Olberman, not surprisingly, thought the speech contained “a touch of greatness,” while at Fox Bill O’Reilly thought it was so ineffective that the president will need “a magic wand.” Rachel Maddow seemed to think he had one. . Hot Air had the best summary of President’s speech: Pass my crappy bill or people will die.
And now for one of the the many—ah—misleading parts of the speech. Hinderaker again:
U]nless everybody does their part, [the president said] many of the insurance reforms we seek – especially requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions – just can’t be achieved.
This is a key point that many will overlook. One of the central purposes of nearly all health care “reform” proposals is to force young people into the system to help pay older peoples’ bills. Why is it that you can’t force insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions–i.e., “insure” against something that has already happened, a logical impossibility–unless you force young people to “do their part”? Insurance companies, and, eventually, the government as single payer, need young people to pay premiums that far exceed any actual risk to subsidize the known losses that will come from being forced to “insure” people whose medical conditions are not risks but certainties.