The Big 0’s big nothing speech


Main thoughts from Wednesday’s Big Health Care Speech, in which President 0bama didn’t say anything new but did say some old things in new ways:

1. The Big 0 made references to his “plan” for health care. Which plan is that? The one written by Teddy Kennedy before 0 was even elected president and now under consideration in the Senate? The 1,100-page plan about to make it to the House floor? (No, it can’t be that one; 0 said he doesn’t know what’s in it.) Or is it a secret plan being kept in a vault along with Richard Nixon’s 1968 secret plan to end the war that actually was so secret it didn’t exist?

You’ve got to admit, it’s genius to go before Congress and push a heatlh care plan that hasn’t even been introduced as such. Then, when something else gets passed that looks like health care reform, if people like it, 0 can say, “That’s my plan!” and if they don’t like it he can say, “That wasn’t my plan!”

That’s why it’s been so bizarre that he has claimed his plan has been misrepresented by opponents, when they’ve actually been targeting the details of the Senate and House plans and haven’t been focusing on his plan–because it doesn’t exist. He has just offered repeatedly some general principles about a health care plan with no details.

He even, at one point, said, “As soon as I sign this bill …” WHAT BILL?? WHICH OF THE HALF DOZEN BILLS ARE YOU GOING TO SIGN??? WHICH ONE ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT???

Talk about a moving target.

I’ve never seen such a brazen lack of political leadership in my life. I knew this guy was unfit to govern, but I didn’t think he’d be unfit  even to lead his own party.

2. He talked about an individual mandate to buy insurance, although he didn’t use those words, instead pushing a “requirement.” But he didn’t mention fines at all that I can remember. That’s just cowardice. At least Sen. Max Baucus is honest when he proposes up to a $3,800 fine for those who don’t have insurance. Of course, standing before a joint session of Congress and the American people at the same time and telling them they’re going to be fined for not having health insurance isn’t the kind of thing I’d want to do, either.

3. On individual and employer mandates: “Improving our health care system only works if everybody does their part.”

We’re all socialists now. 

4. The false argument (different from the false dichotomy that if you’re not for his plan, whatever that is, you’re against health care reform) was brought out once again that the federal government requiring you to buy health insurance is no different than states requiring drivers to buy liability car insurance.

There’s a big difference. 

The states own the highways and streets and give individuals who meet certain criteria a license to drive on those highways and streets. We do not have a “right” to drive; we are granted that privilege by the state by meeting certain standards. The states thus are completely within their rights to require that people who drive on those highways and streets that the state owns carry a certain amount of insurance, most frequently insurance that would pay for damage to another person’s vehicle.

But if you don’t own a car, you don’t have to have liability insurance, although the car you’re driving best have it.

The individual mandate or mandatory insurance is a different cat altogether. Just by existing, you are required to have health insurance under the proposals out there, as well as under, apparently, 0’s “plan.” That’s like requiring the person who has never had a driver’s license or owned a car to have liability insurance for their vehicle. Everybody will have to be covered in one way or another or they will face a fine which, under Sen. Baucus’ new proposal, could range up to $3,800 for a family.

Plus, it’s up to the states to decide what they want to do regarding car insurance requirements, but 0 wants to make it a national requirement that we all have health insurance.

Now, I’m not that bright of a guy, but even I can figure out the difference between mandatory health insurance and mandatory car insurance. But our president can’t? Oy.

Or is 0 trying to subtly tell us that the government owns our bodies like the states own the streets? Ah … crazy like a fox, this 0ne.

5. This was one of the more entertaining speeches to a joint session of Congress that I’ve seen. A couple times, I thought 0 was going to come down from the podium and take on some of the Republicans who were jeering him. That would have been more interesting than seeing Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Biden stand up and sit down a lot. At one point, somebody from Obama’s left yelled something and briefly caught his attention. And I loved the laughter when 0 admitted that, well, some details needed to be “ironed out.” Not that he was looking for laughs, but he got them anyway.

6. I counted at least twice that he dumped responsibility for the current health care problems, or some kind of problems, on the Bush administration.

Hey, 0, LET IT GO, dude. You won. Now it’s your deal. Live with it. Forget the past; it is prologue. Or something like that.


I wasn’t that fond of Bush II. Voted for him once, didn’t twice. I think he messed up a lot of things. But 0 has been president for eight months now. Does he have to beat that particular dead horse all the time?

And pointing out the cost of his health care plan–whichever one it is–is less than the cost of the Iraq war makes the point that … what? That it’s OK to spend more billions of dollars foolishly? Didn’t he just get done chastising Bush II for doing just that?

Note to 0: Review logic class notes.

7. Oh, and he said that abortion wouldn’t be paid for under his plan, whichever one that is, apparently even if it’s the plan with abortion coverage in it. Actually, he maneuvered that one nicely. He said that abortions wouldn’t be paid for by “federal dollars.” Didn’t say anything about the premiums paid into the public option paying for them, though. Maybe he considers the premiums and federal dollars to be the same things.


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