Thursday, September 10, 2009

Obama's Trillionth Health Care Speech

I have to say that I might have just reached burnout phase with Barack Obama and health care. Don't get me wrong, I have long since passed any phase where I was interested in what he said on substantive grounds. I've learned to expect little to no substance in fact. I was fascinated to see what he said or didn't say more importantly to game what would likely happen next in his game of health care roulette.

My overall impression of tonight's speech was complete disbelief this man would call a joint session of Congress only to repeat the same old worn out arguments he has been throwing around for months. He pretends to offer a new plan which is really same as the old plan dressed up in its' "Go to joint session of Congress" clothes. For those not listening closely, the speech was at times somewhat convincing. It all falls apart, however, when the fancy clothes are stripped away to reveal the same worn out contradictions and distortions.

He trotted out on of his regular distortions: "Nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have. Let me repeat this: Nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have." I am really not sure who believes this anymore, if they ever did. I am dumbfounded why he feels compelled to keep repeating it. Perhaps he thinks he will wish it in to truth.

He claims to want bipartisanship, yet is combative at every turn and delivers what may have been one of the more partisan speeches since he pretended to leave the campaign trail. John Boehner seemed to really take exception to this point:
FACT: The Hill reported today, that the President has not met with House Republicans since April, and when Republican Leaders asked for such a meeting in a May 14 letter, the President ignored the request. The Politico reported on the President’s response on June 5, saying, “he makes no mention of the request to meet in the letter, which he signs off by stating, "Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with me and I look forward to further discussions on this critically important issue." But those “further discussions” simply didn’t happen. The President’s letter is attached to this email, and you can click here to read the letter requesting the meeting, in which Republican Leaders wrote, “Despite our differences on some important health care-related issues, we are convinced there are areas offering potential for common ground on health care reform among Republicans and Democrats.” The facts are clear: blame for the lack of bipartisanship in the current health care debate lies squarely at the feet of Washington Democrats.
The facts bear Boehner out on this one, there has been no real effort to gain support for a bipartisan plan. The Democrats don't need Republicans to pass this monster, they'd just like a vote or two to get it through the Senate and for a bit of political cover.

Obama was jeered when he tried to make the claim abortion would not be covered nor would illegal aliens. As mentioned in a previous post both claims are untrue. Congressional Research Service examined the illegal alien provision and found those who meet the "substantial presence" test would be required to participate in the government insurance program. The Annenberg sponsored Fact Check debunks the claim that abortion is not covered.

The speech was loaded with problems. Reason has a full recap of the problems and the AP does a pretty good job showing the multitude of problems with the speech. Sarah Palin also posted a response to the speech and found the President wanting on his call for civility. Whether we agree or disagree with the President on policy, he should at a minimum serve as a model for civility and well-reasoned discussion, particularly in front of a joint session of Congress. This President seems incapable of both and that is truly sad.

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