Talking Cure, Again — More Obama Lies

Talking Cure, Again
By the Editors

President Obama began his speech tonight by noting that liberals have been trying to foist “comprehensive health reform” on this nation for nearly seven decades. (He did not use these exact words.) These decades of failure have not led liberals to reconsider their basic assumptions about the proper role of government in American health care. It was thus overly optimistic to expect a few difficult months to make Obama rethink his health-care initiative.

Neither the government-heavy substance nor the dishonest and demagogic tactics have changed. The president denounced “scare tactics” — in a speech that warned that failure to go along with his plans would cause people to die. He pretended that preventive care will “save money,” even though this claim has been authoritatively and repeatedly debunked. He claimed, in defiance of every independent assessment, that the legislation before Congress will reduce costs. He denied that the legislation he supports will spend federal dollars on abortion, which can be true only if he has some private and novel definition of “federal dollars.” He denied that it will cover illegal immigrants, even though Democratic congressmen have specifically voted not to require verification of legal residence.

Obama told people with insurance that “nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.” Note the careful formulation, which is technically true but deliberately misleading. The president knows full well that his plan will cause millions of people to lose their current coverage and that they are not going to catch the fact that his statement does not quite deny it. Obama said that “what Americans who have health insurance can expect from this plan” is “more security and stability.” Many of them can, in fact, expect to lose their coverage while paying higher premiums and taxes. Many other Americans can expect to lose their jobs thanks to Obama’s “employer mandate.”

The president’s stated goals — stability, cost control, and expanded coverage — are reasonable ones. All of them would be better served by a gradual transition toward a system in which people buy insurance for themselves rather than relying on their employers or governments, and in which neither the tax code nor regulations impede them from so doing.

President Obama said that “the time for bickering is over” and that he will not “waste time with those who have made the calculation that it’s better politics to kill this plan than improve it.” You would not guess it from his speech, but it is possible sincerely to believe that it is better policy to scrap this plan and start over. If by “bickering” Obama means opposition in principle to his plan to vastly expand the federal role in health care, then there has never been a better time for it.


National Review Online – http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NDBjOGUzYmViNmMwY2VhNDU5MzkxZDE3MTRjNTVmYjA=

Obama’s ‘Gift’ Has Stopped Giving

Obama’s ‘Gift’ Has Stopped Giving

By Lee Cary

“The nature of oratory is such that there has always been a tendency among politicians and clergymen to oversimplify complex matters.  From a pulpit or a platform even the most conscientious of speakers finds it very difficult to tell the whole truth.” Aldous Huxley
President Obama’s healthcare address to Congress displayed the oratorical gift he once revealed to Harry Reid. But the gift has stopped giving.

 

In an updated version of his biography, Senator Reid tells of a conversation he once had with then Senator Obama about a speech Obama delivered on President Bush’s war policy. Reid said to Obama, “That speech was phenomenal, Barack.” Obama replied, “I have a gift, Harry.”

 

On the campaign trail, Obama’s “gift” was his strong suit. His go-to skill. The one that swooned crowds and evoked emotional dedication from his followers. After eight years of a president who was mediocre, at best, in verbal communication, and while in a race against a Republican presidential candidate who displayed no improvement in that sphere, Obama’s oratorical skills were, to many, the incarnation of the “change” that was half of his campaign slogan.

 

In last night’s speech before a joint session of Congress, the President pulled all the stops on his vocal organ, played his strong suit, and deployed the “gift.” But the gift has stopped giving, because people have started listening.

 

He was most persuasive at defining the healthcare problem, leaning heavily on anecdotal vignettes describing victims of inadequate healthcare coverage. Then he equated our healthcare problem with the deficit problem. One is dependent on the other, he said.

 

He accused opponents of using “scare tactics.” This came after he’d piled scare tactic upon scare tactic himself to illustrate the problem. The healthcare system is “at the breaking point.”  It offers “insecurity today.”  People are dying! Thirty million can’t get coverage, he said. Wait, we been told for years that it’s 47 million. What happened to the other seventeen?

 

He wants a plan that “builds on what works and fixes what doesn’t.”  The only problem is that doesn’t jive with the thousand-plus pages of H.R. 3200 that have been read by too many Americans. His description of limited reform doesn’t match the bill. 

 

Healthcare reform will only impact, he said, five percent of the population. When he said, “While there remain some significant details to be ironed out,” we heard something unique in recent joint Congressional speech history.  Derisive laughter at a President from the opposition side of the chamber.  The faces of Pelosi and Biden, seated behind Obama, said they weren’t among the amused.    

 

It was the perfect moment for non-partisan conciliatory language, but Obama pulled out brass knuckles and attacked “bogus claims” made by opponents to the plan. What plan still wasn’t clear? H.R. 3200? Or, his intentions for a healthcare plan he was revealing, or claimed to be revealing, in the speech? He seemed not to want to differentiate between the two, but yet to differentiate between the two.  Conflicted, for sure, and intentionally, also for sure. A shell game of hide the plan. Criticize H.R. 3200 and you’re not being fair because that’s not what he wants to have happen. 

 

The “bogus claims” were the opponents’ “cynical and irresponsible” references to death panels for senior citizens; coverage for illegal immigrants — South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson yelled “Lie!” and made Biden cinch-up his neck; coverage for abortions; and the bogus claim that the plan (what plan, whose plan?) meant government control of the nation’s healthcare system.

 

He professed belief that “consumers do better with choice and competition.” This comes as Ford competes against a General Motors and Chrysler that received tens of billions of dollars of government aid. And, even at that, Ford is winning the competition.

 

A key moment came when he re-endorsed a “not-for-profit public option.”  Only five percent would sign up, he said. Where did that number come from?  And this, he claimed, would be a “self-sufficient” public option that wouldn’t add “one dime” to the deficit.  He chose then, and not wisely, to use public colleges as an example of fiscal self-sufficiently. Nevermind that the tuition at those institutions has been climbing steadily over recent years. 

 

Then came that surreal moment when he said that spending cuts in a healthcare program — one that the government already badly manages — would cover additional costs to a even wider system. And, if the promised savings don’t materialize, there’ll be compensating cuts. Meanwhile, the camera focused on Congressman Charlie Rangel (D. NY) who, although he’s nearing 80, is able to tap dance around paying his taxes, with a smile.  This is bad comedy.

 

And bad religion too, since, miracle of miracles, the 900 billion dollar cost over 10 years is covered by just a one-tenth of one percent reduction in spending on the existing healthcare system (that, of course, the government won’t be controlling) that will, he said, equal a savings of four trillion dollars over the “long run” (Is that in dog years?).  Of course, extra fees on the health insurance companies will also defer some of the additional costs.

 

About the time we were swimming in a sea of uncorroborated vagaries and smothering beneath layered non sequitur claims, he rolled out the memory of Ted Kennedy and the camera panned in on the widow. Out came the “moral issue” that the late Senator Kennedy said reflects the “character of our country.” A character lesson from Ted! Who could have predicted that?

 

It transitioned to the recollection of how government once-upon-a-time assumed the responsibility for the Social Security of the elderly. Too bad no one stood and said, “Social Security is bankrupt!”

 

So, it was lofty oratory built on unsubstantiated claims; emotionally sustained by anecdotal tugs on the heart strings; punctuated with vague statistics; culminating in the remembrance of a liberal icon; that led to the invocation of that paradigm of welfare programs that’s gone completely haywire.            

 

There is nothing in the world like a persuasive speech to fuddle the mental apparatus and upset the convictions and debauch the emotions of an audience not practiced in the tricks and delusions of oratory.” Mark Twain

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/09/obamas_gift_has_stopped_giving.html at September 10, 2009 – 11:20:08 AM EDT

$3.4 billion for new Homeland Security complex: Imagine how much health care that could have paid for

Michelle Malkin 

$3.4 billion for new Homeland Security complex: Imagine how much health care that could have paid for

By Doug Powers  •  September 9, 2009 11:01 PM

It wasn’t long ago that the Department of Homeland Security was just a fascist glimmer in George W. Bush’s eye that subsequently went on to become a symbol of one rogue and illegitimate administration’s gross abuse of civil liberties.

But now a new sheriff is in town, and a new enemy is in the cross-hairs that needs to be aggressively confronted, so it’s worth an even heavier investment of taxpayer dollars.

That and they needed the meeting space:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Washington notables broke ground on the future home of the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday, symbolically starting construction on the biggest federal building project in the Washington area since the Pentagon 68 years ago.

The project will bring together more than 15,000 employees now scattered in 35 offices in the region, placing them on a 176-acre campus strewn with historic buildings in a long-neglected corner of Washington, five miles from the Capitol building.

Department leaders hope the $3.4 billion consolidation will help the department fulfill its core mission — protecting the homeland — in ways big and small.

“It will help us hold meetings,” Secretary Janet Napolitano said. “It will help us build that culture of ‘One DHS.’”

Assuming Napolitano holds a meeting every single weekday over the next 10 years, this new complex is only costing $1.3 million per meeting. Not bad by government standards — but we’ll round that up to $2 million per meeting on the assumption that they’ll buy bagels.

At least this way the DHS will have a central location from which to direct the Girl Scouts response during a national emergency.

Update: Commenters are saying that GoToMeeting.com would have been a much cheaper alternative, but that’s assuming that the government wouldn’t have decided that GoToMeeting.com’s office was too small to handle their requests and in need of a several billion dollar renovation. It’d be even more expensive if the administration declared meetings a basic human right and nationalized the entire meeting industry.

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

More hard-hitting news about Michelle Obama—-Nope, no one decided to shed light last night on Michelle Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Susan Sher, and David Axelrod’s role in creating a patient-dumping scheme

More hard-hitting news about Michelle Obama

By Michelle Malkin  •  September 10, 2009 09:04 AM

Yes, it’s time for another hard-hitting Michelle Obama media moment.

Nope, no one decided to shed light last night on Michelle Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Susan Sher, and David Axelrod’s role in creating a patient-dumping scheme
at the University of Chicago Medical Center
— and what it might portend under Obamacare.

But the Huffington Post did enlighten readers about Mrs. Obama’s important decision to wear a “pink full-sleeve skirt suit.”

All the fashion slavering fit to print.

How many uninsured, Mr. President?”

How many uninsured, Mr. President?”

Ethel C. Fenig
This discrepancy, posted by Glenn Thrush of Politico with a hat tip to Don Stewart and Josh Holmes of Senator Mitch McConnell office, typifies where President Barack Obama (D) gets his numbers and information.

Whether explaining the positive effects of his trillion dollar stimulus debt, savings from his government health care proposals or the number of states in the U.S., Obama seems to get his numbers from the same source–thin air ie, he makes them up to suit his purpose.

Obama’s speech tonight: “There are now more than thirty million American citizens who cannot get coverage.”

Obama presser, Guadalajara, Mexico, 8/10/09: “We’ve got 46-47 million people without health insurance in our country.”

Hey, what’s a 50% mistake coming from a president who is a Harvard Law School graduate?

 

Rick Moran adds:

 

More than “30 million American citizens who can’t get coverage”? Even the bogus statistics used by liberals point out that there are at least 8 million and probably 14 million American citizens who can easily afford health insurance but choose not to have it. That isn’t even close to “citizens who can’t get coverage.”

Nor does Obama’s fantasy number include those who are in between jobs and will pick up health insurance once they are employed. Again, statistics are contradictory depending on the study but anywhere from 6-10 million Americans fall into this category. And again, these people who currently don’t have health insurance are a far cry from “citizens who can’t get coverage.”

The fact: the number of citizens who “can’t get coverage” is probably in the range of 9-14 million and most of them would be eligible for Medicaid, and their children would be eligible for S-CHIP. The fact that they have not signed up for these programs does not mean they “can’t get coverage.”

Finally, Obama’s careful walk back from 46 million was probably done because that number includes illegal aliens who aren’t insured. And we know that no illegal aliens will be included in Obamacare, right?

Right?

 

 

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/09/how_many_uninsured_mr_presiden.html at September 10, 2009 – 09:05:51 AM EDT

Obama and the Cult of Personality

Obama and the Cult of Personality
By: Steven M. Cohen
Thursday, September 10, 2009

 


Since the founding, America has been the land without kings.
While historians continue to be divided among the factual and the apocryphal, at the conclusion of the American Revolution, so the legend goes, George Washington was confronted by a movement within the Continental Army to declare him king.  According to the story, a major proponent of the plan was Col. Lewis Nicola, a Frenchman who had fought under Washington alongside the colonists.  The proposal was supported by a group of influential Army officers who evidently had little understanding of the man who had just led them to victory.  When Nicola put forth the idea for Washington’s consideration, he received an immediate response laced with scorn and revulsion:  “Let me conjure you then, if you have any regard for your country, concern for yourself or for posterity, or respect for me, to banish these thoughts from your mind and never communicate, as from yourself or any one else, a sentiment of like nature.” 

Thus did the nation’s most revered Founding Father set the country on a democratic course that would explicitly reject the cult of personality.  The ensuing centuries would produce dozens of American statesmen and scoundrels with unique qualities and defects that would capture the country’s attention and occasionally even its collective imagination, from presidents like Jackson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, JFK and Reagan, to demagogues like Huey Long and Joseph McCarthy.  But unlike Argentina’s enthrallment with Juan and Eva Peron as well as numerous other examples in South America, Europe and the Far East, America has never succumbed to the cult of personality by surrendering its liberties to any movement based on a pledge of unquestioned devotion and loyalty to the will of a single individual. 

Perhaps for the first time in our history since Washington, the nation’s present leader has come to power through the cult of personality, except this time he appears to welcome and encourage the movement surrounding him rather than reject it, as Washington did, in the interests of democracy.  Barack Obama ran a campaign largely based on personal charisma as well as the promise of “change.”  As with most personality cults, he found a receptive audience among a restive electorate generally dissatisfied, if not disgusted, with the outgoing administration on many counts, including already out-of-control government spending and two wars that appeared to be going nowhere.  The economy had already begun to crumble under the weight of a growing financial crisis.  These were nearly perfect conditions for candidate Obama to seemingly parachute into the fray out of nowhere, armed with a studied “cool” demeanor, a genuine gift for eloquence, and a powerful ally in the news media that followed him with an unprecedented fawning obsequiousness that gave him a free pass on crucial issues such as legislative experience, personal judgment, and character. 

Thus it is actually less remarkable than it seems that a very junior and untested politician, distinguished by nothing other than the most liberal voting record in the Senate during his very brief tenure, managed to get elected, tripping up a battle-hardened, doggedly determined Hillary Clinton in the primaries, and rocketing past a passé and enervated John McCain in the general election.  It was a campaign run with a paucity of substance, relying instead on vague slogans and promises, fueled largely by the candidate’s personal charm and verbal genius.  A news media awash in moral rectitude over the county’s ability to depart from its racist history and elect its first black president sealed the deal. 

Encouraged by a huge victory based on an attractive but empty message, it should be no surprise that Mr. Obama, in his first six months, has embarked on a course apparently unencumbered by political comity, legal niceties, or fundamental fairness.  That accounts for a number of unprecedented administration moves including ramming through vast expenditures of money for “stimulus” and bank bailouts; sinking tens of billions of taxpayer dollars into failing car companies largely as a political payback to unions; waving aside traditional bankruptcy principles and contract law, thereby impoverishing secured bondholders, again for the purpose of delivering to the unions; attempting to rush through a thousand-page healthcare “reform” monstrosity that runs contrary to the wishes of millions of Americans who do not want the government meddling in their personal health choices; endorsing the demonization of citizens who appear at public meetings to exercise their right to disagree with the mammoth expansion of government influence; enabling a thoroughly politicized Department of Justice to conduct a witch hunt among public servants who acted to protect the country during a time of maximum distress and vulnerability, thereby exposing America to future terrorists attacks and bloodshed; and conducting a foreign policy based on apologizing for American’s supposed transgressions while “reaching out” to dictators, despots, and murderers in a blatant effort to appease them. 

Having pulled off much of this extra-legal program nearly unimpeded, and thus convinced of the force of his personality and will, the president has proceeded to surround himself with a shadow government largely outside the purview of Congress or the public at large.  This shadow government consists of literally several dozen appropriately-dubbed czars and czarinas who allegedly perform “duties” already amply covered by the various cabinet-level departments of government.  They consist of a widely varied assortment, from bona fide experienced officials like Dennis Ross, a long-time Mideast diplomat, to numerous blatant political contribution paybacks, as well as ultra left-wing venom-spewers like “green jobs” czar Van Jones, a dedicated and openly-avowed racial instigator and socialist.  It is, indeed, an eclectic collection, immune from congressional vetting and confirmation, and largely out of the public’s sight. 

In other countries and cultures, “strongmen” surround themselves with such individuals.  Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez come to mind, both of whom are high on the list of Obama’s “reach out and express contrition” list.  And one should not forget the ousted president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, on whose behalf the Obama administration is pressuring the legal institutions of Honduras, which have acted according to that country’s constitution and the wishes of its people, to welcome this power-hungry despot back with open arms. 

The conventional wisdom, even among a media throng that remains large supportive of the president and his now patently socialist agenda, is that the administration’s radical legislative initiative might unravel as the result of the significant public turbulence over the healthcare bill and its “public option.”  That view is somewhat simplistic and omits an important component of the present American public/Obama administration dynamic.  Healthcare, of course, is a critically substantive issue in which the vast majority of Americans have an acute interest.  Substance, of course, was never the strong suit of the Obama operation, either in its candidacy phase or in its present administrative form.  That the public should become disenchanted with genuine policy positions, then, whether they involve healthcare, the economy, taxes, deficit spending, or the general role of government, is hardly shocking.  It may simply be a case of voters beginning to discover that the governing agenda of the candidate they elected does not align with their own interests and values. 

The far more telling event that perhaps represents a growing rift between the president and his fellow citizens occurred just this week, and it was an episode that had nothing to do with legislative initiatives or public policies to which voters might object.  Instead, it was an effort by the president that seemed to strike a nerve among a populace imbued with a historical rejection of the cult of personality.  Thus, what has normally been an almost controversy-free tradition of a president addressing school children on their fall return has turned into the latest White House misadventure.  Parents have raised objections all over the country, and many, if not most, local school boards are making attendance optional.  The strongest objections, of course, are in largely Republican strongholds, where many districts have decided to not air his message at all.  But an ambivalent, if not unreceptive response, is taking place nationally. 

It is testimony to the growing general distrust of the president—on a personal rather than political basis—that many parents have viewed his speech as an effort to indoctrinate children with his radical thinking.  The president did not help his case by suggesting to teachers that they formulate lesson plans in which students would be assigned to write letters to themselves on what they can do to “help the president.”  This only added fuel to the fire of parents’ suspicions that the speech was nothing more than a thinly-veiled effort to gently nudge children into the cult of Obama.  One parent on a nationally-televised news program asked why she should give access to her school-aged child to “someone I don’t trust.” 

Putting aside all of the partisan conflicts and controversy over a host of legislative issues, the American public—on its own and away from Congress—is beginning to display a decided distrust of a politician who based his candidacy—and now his presidency—on a personality cult.


Steven M. Cohen has spent more than 25 years in the hedge fund business. His articles appear on Frontpagemagazine.com. as well as on his own blog site, buyselljump.com.

Shut Up, He Explained

Shut Up, He Explained
By: Jacob Laksin
Thursday, September 10, 2009

 


ObamaCare goes prime time, but will the country be convinced by a pitch to the Left?
It’s a sign of how badly things are going for Barack Obama on the make-or-break issue of his tenure that the president delivered yesterday’s prime time health care address in a forum traditionally reserved for national crises. But with public disapproval of the president’s handling of health care rising to an all-time high of 52 percent, and with even Democrats fleeing from the government insurance “public option” that had been a centerpiece of the president’s health care vision, Obama’s speech before a joint session of Congress was crisis management in all but name.  

Judged on style, the speech, polished and capably delivered, was typical Obama. On many of the broad points, too, there was little that was contentious. The president called for a health care plan that would offer more security to those who already have health insurance; provide it to those who don’t; and slow the runaway costs for health care for individuals and at the government level.

Obama was also effective in discussing the problems of the current health care system. He pointed out that the United States already spends more than 1½ times more per person on health care than any other country, with dubious results; that insurance premiums have risen three times faster than wages; and that the “skyrocketing costs” for government programs like Medicare and Medicaid pose serious problems for the country down the road. So far, so unobjectionable.

And then the president faltered: He got specific.

If one aim of the president’s speech was to foster a broad consensus on health care, it failed resoundingly. What Obama offered instead was a laundry list of items favored by the partisan Left and strenuously opposed by large parts of the country. For the first time, the president made clear just what ObamaCare would entail. For those not already in the president’s ideological corner, there was little to like.

A case in point was Obama’s unqualified support for the public option. Despite dwindling support for this measure in the ranks of his own party – 23 Blue Dog Democrats in the House have said that they would oppose a bill with the public option, and others have signaled that they would follow suit – Obama came out strongly in favor of a government insurance program that would “compete” with private insurers. As he has in past speeches, Obama sought to downplay claims that a public option would force Americans into a government program. He insisted that “no one would be forced to choose it, and it would not impact those of you who already have insurance.”
 

But that promise runs counter to projections, including a widely cited study by the Lewin group, that the public option would cause 119 million people to lose their private coverage and force them into the government program. Because a government plan could rely on taxpayer funds, it could operate at a loss and afford itself a competitive advantage against private insurers. These insurers would have little choice but to hike premiums or go out of business. In this way, even those who already have private insurance could lose it if a public option is passed.  

To his partial credit, Obama tried to speak to these concerns. He explained that, in his plan, taxpayers would not be subsidizing the public option. “I have insisted that like any private insurance company, the public insurance option would have to be self-sufficient and rely on the premiums it collects,” the president declared.

All well and good. Unfortunately, the long track record of government programs in sponging public funds suggests that this promise is not to be trusted. Take Medicare, a model for the public option that was devised under similar pretexts. When it was first created in 1965, premiums paid for 50 percent of the cost of physician services. That number has since fallen by half. Today, taxpayers are stuck with the bill. To pretend that there is no risk of the same result with the public option is to ignore history.  

Obama was no more convincing when he attempted to debunk what he bitterly called the “bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost.” Especially false, according to Obama, was the claim “that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens.” This was a “lie, plain and simple,” the president averred.

Only, it’s not so simple. Sarah Palin may have overstated the case when she recently charged that the administration would create “death panels” to decide end-of-life treatment, but suspicions that the administration could empower unelected bureaucrats to ration care for the elderly are well-founded. The Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner has pointed out that health care legislation currently before Congress would create an Independent Medicare Advisory Council to ensure that Medicare denies services that are deemed not “reasonable and necessary.” Health care expert Sally Pipes observes that this could “ultimately make it more difficult for seniors to get the care they need.” If the president really wants to find the source of concerns about “death panels,” he need look no further than the health care legislation inspired by his proposed reforms.

Nor did Obama win much sympathy from his opponents when he tried to dismiss concerns that his favored health care bill would provide coverage to illegal immigrants. That prompted South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson to interrupt the president’s speech with a shout of “You lie!” The outburst was inappropriate and disrespectful, something Wilson acknowledged in an apology, but it was not wrong on the substance. For instance, a House version of the health care legislation that Obama seeks would expand Medicaid coverage without verifying the citizenship of enrollees. As a result, a new report by the Center for Immigration Studies finds that 6.6 million uninsured illegal immigrants could receive benefits under the House health reform bill, at a cost to taxpayers of nearly $31 billion annually.

Such blatant disinformation was characteristic of a speech that flattered the president’s allies on the Left while antagonizing those Americans – and they are now in the majority – who agree with him about the problems of the current system but nurse grave doubts about the wisdom of his reforms.

Time and again, Obama accused his critics of engaging in “scare tactics,” “bogus claims,” and “making wild claims about a government takeover of health care,” even as he tried – and failed – to disprove those very claims. In his most notable feint at bipartisanship, Obama offered a gentle reproach to supporters of a Canadian-style single-payer health care system. But considering that the president also enthusiastically endorsed the public option – a program that many on the Left openly tout as a backdoor route toward the single payer model and a government takeover of health care – this could hardly be described as a Sister Souljah moment. What tattered threads of inclusiveness remained in the president’s speech were shred altogether when he invoked the late Ted Kennedy as a shining example of the kind of leadership he would like to see on health care reform. That would be the same Ted Kennedy whose own health care legislation was too radical even for most of his fellow Democrats to support.

Obama faced a tall order this week. He had to restore diminishing public confidence in his leadership and make a compelling case for his proposed health care overhaul. Instead, the president encouraged his most ideological supporters, baited his critics, and distorted the most controversial elements of his plan – not least the expected $1 trillion cost over ten years. Stop the “bickering” and pass health care reform, the president urged, but too often it sounded like, “Shut up and do as I say.” With his approval ratings so dramatically depleted, that’s a fight that Obama is unlikely to win.


Jacob Laksin is managing editor of Front Page Magazine. His email is jlaksin -at- gmail.com