I think Charles Krauthammer may have written one of his best articles ever. I’m quoting a few select phrases, but you’re cheating yourself if you don’t read the whole thing:
“Obama to campaign to ensure health law’s success”
– The New York Times, November 4
The Obamacare website doesn’t work. Hundreds of thousands of insured Americans are seeing their plans summarily terminated. Millions more face the same prospect next year. Confronted with a crisis of governance, how does President Obama respond?
Campaigning to make something work? How does that work? Presidential sweet talk persuades the nonfunctional web portal to function?
Last Wednesday, he simply denied reality and said he really hasn’t changed his message from when he promised in June 2009: “If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan. Period.”
Instead of simply admitting he was wrong, he goes Clintonian, explaining that the pledge applied only to certain specified plans — which he now says he meant all along. Alas, this is one case of death by punctuation. “Period” means without caveats, modifications, loopholes, or escape hatches.
Obamacare proponents who live in the real world might admit that they intended to cancel people’s individual plans all along because kicking people off individual policies is at the heart of populating the health exchanges. You must cancel the good, less frilly plans because forcing these people into more expensive plans (that they don’t need) produces the inflated rates that subsidize the health care of others.
The more honest Obamacare advocates are in effect admitting that to make this omelet you have to break 8 million eggs — roughly the number of people with individual plans who are expected to lose them. Obama, however, goes on as if he can conjure omelets out of thin air.
This rather bizarre belief in the unlimited power of the speech arises from Obama’s biography. Isn’t that how he rose? Words. It’s not as if he built a company, an enterprise, an institution. He built one thing — his own persona. By persuasion. One great speech in 2004 propels him to the presidential level. More great speeches and he wins the White House.
The media is still trying to convince us that Emperor Obama is nattily attired in pants with pressed creases. It’s then surrounding him by a phalanx of courtiers with such awkward names as “The War on Women” and “You’re Racist” and “Republicans want to kill old and poor people.” It remains to be seen whether the Obamacare debacle will finally strip away these illusory protections and reveal Obama, standing naked before us.
(Immediately after I wrote those words, I thought, “Well, it works as a metaphor, but I have to admit to some revulsion at the thought of seeing Obama actually standing naked before me. Ick.”)