AIP Column: Obama’s Wednesday Night Health Care Speech

Last Wednesday President Obama gave a speech to a joint session of Congress. It was his effort to sway the American people to see health care his way. I offered my response in my latest column at American Issues Project:

The president has been beaten about the head and shoulders regarding health care reform the last few months. The American people don’t like what they have been hearing and reading about a public option because they know full well it would steer large portions of the American public already insured through private insurance companies toward a government run health care plan. They know that in Canada and the UK the government run health care systems ration services and discourage technological advancement in order to cut costs. Not wanting to be strapped with similarly bad systems, they are revolting against Obama’s plans. Americans saw big government encroaching into their health decisions and were showing up at town halls around the country to protest.

You would think that when a president faces an overwhelming push back against his defining policy initiative that he would take that as a sign that he’s moving too quickly or that he should reconsider his methods if not his policy all together. If this were any other president, this probably would have happened weeks ago. But we’re not talking about any president. We’re talking about Barack Obama, who believes he is such an outstanding and evocative orator that he can sway anyone to see the world from his point of view. So instead of recalibrating, President Obama came out swinging in his strongest push for his health care plans in a rare joint session of Congress. Before the speech, many pundits characterized it as his last ditch attempt to get some kind of bipartisan compromise. Rush Limbaugh argued that the speech would be a plea to the Democrats in Congress to save him from a huge embarrassment and work together to get health care reform passed. Instead, we got an antagonistic, aggressive, and partisan screed.

The president came to Capitol Hill and wagged his finger and said, “what we have also seen in these last months is the same partisan spectacle that only hardens the disdain many Americans have toward their own government.” This would be funny if it weren’t so blatantly hypocritical. He was the one who stoked the the flames of disdain toward our government when he called the Americans who peacefully protested the government takeover of health care “angry mobs” whose anger was “manufactured.” Last night he talked out of two sides of his face. He acted as if he were the reasonable one who had to referee a school yard fight while he simultaneously took partisan pot shots at Republicans in Congress, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, George W. Bush, and the Iraq War. His call for bipartisanship was a charade.

It’s amazing how much chutzpa Obama has. The American people have been trying to tell him that they don’t like the direction he is taking this country regarding health care. He did not listen. He came out even stronger for his big government solution to health care, which isn’t a solution at all. Obama’s ideas will turn the greatest health care system in the world into nothing short of a cluster.

Added: Included link to column.

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