September 10, 2009

Where's the Plan?

John Hinderaker at PowerLine does a formidable job of dissecting the latest Obama Great Speech.

Obama's Speech: Did It Help Him?

From a policy standpoint, there was nothing new in President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress tonight. It can only be assessed, therefore, in political terms. I read the transcript rather than watching it, but the speech struck me as reasonably effective. I assume the delivery was standard Obama--smooth, generally flat, occasionally a bit whiny.

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.

Here are some excerpts from the speech that I thought were noteworthy:
Instead of honest debate, we have seen scare tactics.
Then, a few minutes later:
Everyone in this room knows what will happen if we do nothing. Our deficit will grow. More families will go bankrupt. More businesses will close. More Americans will lose their coverage when they are sick and need it most. And more will die as a result.
By far the biggest scaremonger on this issue has been Obama himself.
Well the time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed.
I'm not sure whether Obama and his handlers understand how this sort of talk grates on those of us who are not liberal Democrats (a large majority of the country). Debating public policy issues is not "bickering." Disagreeing with a proposal to radically change one of the largest sectors of our economy is not a "game." This kind of gratuitous insult--something we never heard from President Bush, for example--is one of the reasons why many consider Obama to be mean-spirited.

I assume most people noticed how, in tonight's speech, Obama's assurance that we will not lose our present insurance coverage has been scaled back. This was after thousands of critics pointed out that under the Democrats' proposals, many people (more than 100 million according to some estimates) will in fact lose the insurance coverage they now have:
[I]f you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, Medicare, Medicaid, or the VA, 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.
That's true, of course. No one ever said it did. What the Democrats' plan does do, however, is give employers the opportunity and, depending on pricing, the incentive to terminate their employees' plans and dump them into the public system. And whether private insurance companies can compete with the public "option" depends on whether Obama keeps his pledge that the public program won't be subsidized.
[I]nsurance companies will be required to cover, with no extra charge, routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies - because there's no reason we shouldn't be catching diseases like breast cancer and colon cancer before they get worse.
How does that work? Better coverage for more people at less cost. Does anyone actually believe that is possible? I don't think so.

Obama described his plan for an insurance exchange where those who are not part of a larger plan will be able to buy coverage. He then added:
This exchange will take effect in four years, which will give us time to do it right.
But wait! Aren't people dying? The Democrats tried to ram their bill through Congress before the August recess, with essentially no debate and with virtually no one having read it. Their theory was that we are facing such a dire emergency that there is not a moment to lose. If, in fact, we have four years to spare, could we maybe stop trying to cram the bill down Americans' throats?



RightKlik said...

A lot of great points in that article. Bottom line: Same old lies. I don't know how many people saw the speech, but memories will soon fade. It was very forgetable.

Opus #6 said...

Rep Miller explained the timeline in the town hall meeting at the Nixon Library in August. He said it was set up so as not to interfere with upcoming elections. After health care is passed, the politicians can say SEE? Your health care has not changed. I told you! And therefore immunize themselves against attack on the health care issue until after 2012. But the increase in taxes starts right away. Taxes raised, but no services for years. Strange.

Anonymous said...

Nickie.. As I told you, before I go straight to Guantanamo when I return home, right now I'm enjoying free Europe! ;)

Many people here keep asking me - How in hell did Obama become a President of the US!

What do I say?


Mike said...

Great post, NG. Can´t go wrong with Hinderaker.

Paul Krugman actually did a perfect job of explaining what Obama means by "competition" when he speaks of his health care proposal.

Mike said...

Catch that part about "kill the private plans in the competition?"


Writer X said...

It was the same speech but with a different tie. More of the same. And my retinas will never be the same, thanks to Nancy's red dress. Ouch.

Anonymous said...

Klik, it's fading already. It all seemed quite desperate to me.

Anonymous said...

Strange, Opie?? Clearly, you've never lived in Chicago. And it's obvious that you refuse to sit back, shut up, and let Obama meet all your needs.

Anonymous said...


There were two reasons...

1. White guilt.
2. John McCain.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, Mike... there it was. At least someone is telling the truth. I'll post the video.

Anonymous said...

Writer, Pelosi was enjoying herself. Her face was all tense with pride and joy.

nanc said...

clarus survey is in on the speech, however, it doesn't change the fact he does not have the dems to pass it! KEEP WRITING, CALLING, EMAILING YOUR REPS! HAPPY TEA PARTYING THIS WEEKEND!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link, nanc. You are correct. Let's keep the pressure on. I'm curious as to how big the 9/12 gathering will be.

Wetzy said...

When Joe Wilson (Mr. Plame) called Bush a liar everything was fine.

Joe Wilson from South Carolina called Obama a liar and he has to apologize a thousand times.

cate said...

"I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits either now or in the future. Period."
How do his economist's let him say things like this? He should not be promising the Country things based on sketchy math. This speech was poorly written and poorly delivered. It was definitely not bipartisan enough, and his comments about "bickering" and "calling people out" were petty and juvenile.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

@NG-Or can it be:
1. Acorn
2. Palin

By the way I was reading The Daily Mail and the comments on Obama's speech. Some called it great and also the fact that he wants health care for the poor people.

We all know who the poor are... I'll recomend for them to get off their big butts and get a JOB!

Anonymous said...

Caitlin, no one calls him on anything. There's furor over the "you're lying" call, but no discussion about the truth of Obama's illegal alien allegations.

Anonymous said...

Mammon, I worked as a regional volunteer for the McCain campaign. He was dead in the water (we were unable to get anybody to work the phones or walk the precincts) until Palin came on board. We were then swamped with money, volunteers and requests for campaign materials.

If you think the Dems had an overwhelming victory, thank God you didn't have to see the results of a McCain-Grassley candidacy.

Left Coast Rebel said...

Love the graphics, do you do this stuff yourself Nickie? I agree with the fact that Obama didn't unveil a 'plan' while he kept speaking about his 'plan' over and over.....

Anonymous said...

Rebel, I'm still waiting to hear (or read) a plan.

And, yes, I do most of my graphics.