Thursday, September 10, 2009

Personal Aside: Obama’s Speech Too Long, Costs Outrageously Minimized, Too Lachrymose on Teddy.


Besides, Deficit, Foreign Crises Top Health on Public Agenda.

Reviewing the Obama speech last night.

Let’s take its style first.

President Obama’s much heralded speech…where he was supposed to “hit for the fences”…was only a one-base hit and fell far short of what it was intended to do. Give Obama credit as a first-rate salesman: he could easily replace the late Billy Mays huckstering Oxi-Clean and Orange Glo—but stylistically it was vastly imperfect.

First, it was much too long. I counted three distinct spots where he could have wrapped it up but didn’t…especially after the Ted Kennedy part. Second, his claim that his plan wouldn’t add to the deficit…and on a plain matter of credibility, that he could pay for the enormous projected cost (estimated as horrific by the House Democrats’ own Congressional Budget Office)…by savings on waste, fraud and abuse… was an astoundingly hyperbolic untruth which no statistician in his right mind would ever verify. (If government is the vehicle to ending waste, fraud and abuse why hasn’t it done it with Medicare and Medicaid, the Pentagon and other examples heretofore?).

Third, not so much on style but on political strategy, the lachrymose use of Ted Kennedy’s death, was inept. The “last brother” had long since blown with his shameless personal excesses (notably his cowardice in the Mary Jo Kopechne death) any reverential awe that existed following the assassination of his elder brothers. EMK is only a hero to the political Left and based on his own legendarily prohibitive reputation as a wild spender is not useful to simulate a “win this one for the Gipper” formula—showing one more time how far out-of-touch with public sentiment the Obama White House is.

Fourth, many Americans understand that the huge cost of junk lawsuits cause physicians to watch their backs and schedule tests out of self-defense. Obama’s suggestion that a demonstration project could be started is just so much trivia—insufficient in the public mind to meet the danger. What did Obama’s people do with another demonstration project on another issue—educational vouchers in Washington, D. C.? It ended the project because of opposition from the politically potent teachers’ unions. No one who seriously follows the personal injury bar fails to understand that it is one of the largest contributors to Democratic coffers. Did you see Nancy Pelosi on the speaker’s stand? She was bouncing up and down at every applause line like a jack rabbit…but when Obama mentioned even the paltry demonstration project on tort reform, the little lady from the far-left wing San Francisco Bay sat on her manicured hands.

So much for style. Now to its content.

In essence, although Obama delivered it expertly and with matchless feeling, the speech will not rank with the great modern orations of presidents…FDR’s request for a declaration of war following Pearl Harbor,..Truman’s request for aid to Greece and Turkey…Truman’s outlining his Point Four program…Kennedy’s inaugural “Ask not etc.”)…Johnson’s pledge “let us continue” after JFK’s death…Reagan’s “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Why not?

Simply because all of the foregoing speeches dealt with issues that were foremost on the nation’s agenda. The nation was electrified to hear what Roosevelt would say on Dec. 8, 1941…how a new, untested president (Truman) would react to Soviet aggression…how the youngest elected president, following the oldest elected one, a 5-star general, would craft his beginning…how an old pol and former member of the Southern bloc would position himself following the death of a pro-civil rights president…how an elderly ex-actor would face up to a younger, supposedly more dynamic new Soviet leader. All of them were topmost with the nation.

But health care ISN’T. As even the polls show, Americans are concerned with the nation’s perilously sinking dollar as the UN talks of ending its role as the principal unit of trade…our spiraling unemployment that is hitting 9.7%...the federal deficit predicted to reach $1.6 trillion this year…the serious worsening of the war in Afghanistan…the defiance of the U.S. by Iran in stepping up its nuclear program. Frankly, U. S. health care with the prospect of multi-billions added to the deficit (no matter what Obama says about the cost being covered by elimination of waste, fraud and abuse) isn’t remotely that important to Americans in comparison right now.

In summary, the “mainstream media” will merchandise the speech in heroic terms…but don’t believe them. Obama will get something labeled health care reform but it will fall far short of what he wants. He’ll have to take it and like it.

1 comment:

  1. Joe Wilson's outburst was unusual to say the least. Is this the continuation of a trend started long ago? can it be stopped? should it be stopped?