Some Thoughts On Obama Speech

I watched the speech earlier but for me it came right around dinnertime so I decided to eat and take some time to gather a few thoughts before posting. As always I thought his speech was quite good on style, there is no doubting that the man can give a superb speech. His skills are such that even if you disagree with what he is saying you can’t help but to be charmed by him anyway.

I also felt that Congressman Wilson of South Carolina was disgusting in his behavior. I didn’t like it when Democrats were disrespectful to Republican Presidents and I don’t like it when Republicans are disrespectful to Democratic ones. There are just certain things that you don’t do, and one of them is be classless in that way.

As to the speech itself, I felt it was divided into three basic sections.

The first section was, as Obama himself admitted, basically a statement of the problems that we all agree about. Pretty much everyone agrees that insurance companies should not be able to deny for pre-existing conditions, we all  agree that preventative care should be covered, we all agree that you shouldn’t be canceled for daring to get sick. Perhaps the right is less thrilled with these areas, but I think we all basically agree.

I also think most of us are supportive of the idea of smaller employers and even individuals being able to come together in groups to purchase coverage at a better rate. Most of us are supportive of some sort of tort reform (perhaps the left less so than the right, but still we all want reform).

I was very pleased to see him call for mandatory coverage for everyone, as he correctly pointed out it is not really ‘assuming the risk of no coverage’ if you know the government will pay for your health care should you need to have treatment.

The second section of the speech was where he started to lose me a little. As is common in speeches he presented his ideas as the perfect solutions to the problems and acted as if there wasn’t really any debate on that score. This is where I have an issue with the proposed reforms. I want to see lower costs, I want to see everyone covered by insurance and I want to see reforms to prevent the companies from pulling crooked things like canceling coverage when you get sick.

But I am not convinced that his plan is the right one. He stated that his proposals would not cost any more than current costs, yet the Congressional Budget Office has already stated this is not true. He suggested that his plan would see to it that everyone was covered, yet the CBO says this is not going to happen under the current plan.

I think here is where the real issue in this debate lies. Certainly some of those opposed to reform have gone too far in standing in the way of any proposals regardless of the merit of the ideas. I think that is wrong. But at the same time there is a sense from the White House that you’ve got to agree to their basic ideas or else. That is a bit troubling for me.

The third part of the speech was where Obama totally lost me when he went into a partisan attack on the GOP. I saw no reason to attack Bush for 8 year old tax cuts or for the war in Iraq (especially when Obama has not cut back on the troops there). To me this was a bit overboard and it detracted from what could have been a less partisan address.

Overall it was a pretty well delivered speech but I’m not sure it will accomplish much.

Author: PATRICK EDABURN, Assistant Editor

7 Comments

  1. I didn't catch the game, I'm stuck with highlights. How many home runs? Did Wilson block the base when Obama went in for the slide? I hate when that happens – don't they know it's not football?

  2. I didn't think the speech was partisan. The criticism of Bush for spending on tax cuts and war spending was to point out that these things were examples of policies that did not pay for themselves but just added to the deficit. They were examples of what not to do. On the other hand, he mentioned several Republican ideas and even named some Republicans with good ideas (McCain, for example who had a big smile on his face during the speech.) He said he was willing to support medical malpractice reform – something Republicans have been pushing for a while now – , as long as it was not to the exclusion of other reforms.

    I think he also did a good job of quieting the fears of at least some progressives who support the public option. Obama supports the public option but also thinks that there are workable alternatives to it that will accomplish the same goals. He convinced me that although I might prefer the public option, a bill without it will not be useless and will still be much better than what we've got now.

    I'd also like to say that I was impressed with the remarks of Republican Rep. B (can't remember how to spell his name) of Louisiana, even though I didn't agree with everything he said. He seems like a reasonable and smart guy who is willing to try to find some common ground.

  3. By the way, what are points and why do I have 17 of them? Is that a good thing?

  4. The President gave the cost amount in his speech. There is no argument what it will cost and where it will come from. As for this so-called, “attack”, on the GOP…after we witnessed this unprecedented phony “grass roots” Town Hall armed kill’n grandma loony parade sponsored by YOUR SIDE, you dare call the President's speech an attack?

    Healthcare has been a long standing problem and now a crisis that at least one party is trying to solve after eight years, (if not 40 years), of neglect from the General Opposition Party. Face it, you don’t want Americans to enjoy the healthcare security that people of all modern nations enjoy. You don’t care if people are losing their homes because of hospital bills that are oppressively to high, and even WITH insurance!

    I am left with only one question for you: Why do you hate Americans?

  5. Obama's Big Speech: Triangulation + Airbrushed Orszagism
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/kausfiles/arch

    “This-is-the-moment-ism: Why, after posing as a practical moderate, go on and on about the need to avoid timidity and do “what the moment calls for” and “history's test.” Obama couldn't let a speech slip by without veering into grandiosity–but this very grandiosity undercuts his attempt to appear like a reassuring centrist who wants to disrupt existing arrangements as little as possible. Makes kicking the can “further down the road” suddenly seem vaguely appealing. Instead of “this is really a big deal like 1935 and 1965,” why not say “this really isn't such a big deal”? … In particular, couldn't Obama somehow make the point that a trillion dollars over 10 years isn't such a big deal. He tried, by comparing it to expensive things the Dems didn't like (the Iraq War, tax cuts). More effective would be comparison to effective things the Dems and the voters do like (i.e.,”that's less than a sixth of the cost of Social Security” or “one fifth as much as Medicare now costs each year”). It's only $100 billion a year, people!

    In general I'd say he preached to the choir (progressives) and put the congregation (the American people) to sleep.

  6. “I didn't think the speech was partisan.”

    It didn't strike me as excessively so — it was refreshing, actually, compared to what the Dems have been doing so far. Much more clear and cohesive as well.

    Obama earned only a fifty-something on a scale of 100 for the speech, and there were defects with it. He's maintaining the existing system and retaining the employer insurance model (calling it, stupidly, a form of “responsibility,” collectivist garbage that insulted the intelligent), and subjecting employers to fines if they don't provide insurance (they predictably will pay the fines and dump the employees into the individual “exchange” market and any public option that may be set up). Individuals will have to buy insurance (taking a cue from Massachusetts, including subsidies or tax credits, etc.).

    Nobody intelligent was fooled by the “you can keep your doctor,” “immigrants won't benefit,” “abortions won't be paid for” current-state-of-affairs, not state-of-things-after-reform nonsense.

    The touchy-feely idiocy about Teddy Kennedy (why wasn't someone playing the viola? HAHAHA) and a nurturing federal government was nauseating, appealing to degenerate, self-debasing children and losers.

    Nobody I heard chattering and clucking on NPR or CNN or other sources had any intelligence or presence of mind to note aloud that this was an unusual speech by Obama and of questionable propriety, not a serious state-of-the-union event and message but a pleading to rescue the Dems' health care effort and Obama's betting much of his reputation on it, and on silly rushing to passage of legislation.

    That he did the speech anyway is accomplished fact, and overall he merits a score of 50-something.

  7. Lynne, the part of the speech about McCain was the first thing in Obama's speech that addressed the expansion of Washington into health care. Specifically, he was talking about the provision of health insurance (no specifics on what kind, true catastrophic insurance or comprehensive care, typically including preventive care) to those who can't get it now because of pre-existing conditions (or loss by recission, etc.). In other words, this was an immediate (prompt) federal expansion.

    Subsequent to that Obama in his speech also said he is (remains) in support of the public option, i.e, the universalist (for everyone) public alternative to private insurance (health care) plans through the “exchanges.”

    The other two noteworthy things about the speech are that he wants to retain the employer-based system (at least rhetorically) and make employers pay if they end insurance for employees, and to have individuals be required to have (and buy) insurance, as in Massachusetts.

    Everything else in the speech was either clumsy (Medicare and how it and other health care would be reformed, how Medicare would not be harmed by taking money from it arbitrarily), or dishonest (with a number of items), or degrading (appeals to emotions of losers, with Teddy Kennedy and the welfare state stuff).

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