Krauthammer on Obama’s next campaign — when rhetoric meets reality

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?

He campaigns.


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.”)

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Caped Crusader

    “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 seeking Obama actually standing naked before me. Ick.”)”
    I trust this was an error in keyboarding and poor editing (as I am the world’s worse), and not a Freudian slip. KIDDING !!

  • Bookworm

    Aaack!  Keyboard error.  Correcting now.

  • JKB

    Presidency by community organizer.  Advocate, campaign, somebody, somewhere do what I want… Who’s in charge here?
    I blame the universities (humanities to be specific).  We need fewer “advocacy” classes and more doer classes.  
    Sarah Palin had it right when she compared the community organizer with a mayor.  Responsibility and accountability.  Of course, Obama, as president, has many minions, and a whole federal bureaucracy, yet he still didn’t put any doers in key positions.  
        n 1: active support of an idea or cause etc.; especially the act
             of pleading or arguing for something 
        n 1: a person who acts and gets things done; “when you want something done get a

  • raymondjelli

    Underlying problem and the Republicans and conservatives and libertarians are all avoiding pushing it is that there is a huge different between insurance and an entitlement. Insurance is a statistical risk pool with well-defined boundaries. Entitlements are open ended because they help those that got caught above their ability to help themselves, something truly catastrophic (a rare disease for instance).
    We are mixing both which is the real reason people must, must come off their plans. The worst is yet to come. They lied that insurance companies don’t insure new medical treatments because they are greedy. New techniques must prove themselves to become accepted insurable techniques. Today’s boring technique is yesterday’s research and breakthrough. Some of us are born too soon to take advantage of medical advances in a particular area but we all benefit from medical advancement in general. Insurance companies definitely help people partake of overall progress.
    Now is where it gets ugly. The government will be a hero by getting Sandy access to new medical procedures. When they are done spending because they have achieved their political posturing Mandy will get screwed out of expensive non-revolutionary medicine. Maybe they can spin it that it is all Mandy’s fault, or mean taxpayers that haven’t written a blank check but Mandy won’t get treated. Worst case is that Sandy’s procedure doesn’t work and the government says Mandy, Randy and Larry are all bad risks because we need to be reasonable and besides isn’t it better to give the money to teachers who are the future anyway?
    Clintonian isn’t fair. Bill would not have released something this bad. Crooked yes. Incompetent, no. This is scary because it could be Solyndra. It won’t work and it will just be left that way. A broken insurance industry and no one caring. Money gone. So what.

  • Caped Crusader

    There are three classes of people:
    those who see,
    those who see when they are shown,
    those who do not see.

    Leonardo da Vinci

  • Charles Martel

    I don’t know, Book… Obama has been a buck nekkid emperor ever since I first laid eyes on him.


    It’s not complicated. Simply put, Obamacare is a fatwah. If you don’t comply you’re stoned – BaRocked!
    Paper (2,400 pages), Scissors (severs your insurance policy), BaRocked (you’ve been had).

  • Libby

    Krauthammer’s column is excellent, but Jonah Goldberg identified this problem back in late 2009: The solution to every problem is “More cowbell!”, if by cowbell you mean more Obama speeches.

  • Ymarsakar

    So long as the Left exists, Americans will live in slavery, thinking they are free.

  • Murray Lawrence

    According to his self-retracting apology, what Obama basically said or meant to say was, “If you like your health plan you can keep it, comma.”

  • Mike Devx

    Charles Martel #6:
    I don’t know, Book… Obama has been a buck nekkid emperor ever since I first laid eyes on him.
    I wish I had your wisdom, Martel.  Obama blew me away at that 2004 Democrat National Convention Speech.  I thought, “this is a guy to watch.  He says all the right things.”  I believed him!
    It was only during the 2008 campaign against Hillary Clinton that I perceived the real Obama.
    I think the unrolling ObamaCare debacle will finally pull the wool from many more eyes.  Well, better late than never!  Cmon’ people, join the rest of us in seeing the truth!  It is time to put away childish things.

  • Ymarsakar

    The Left has always believed in their own propaganda. Even their propagandists started to do so, at least for 2004 Iraq.
    Obama did not change the Left. The Left merely transformed AMerica more.