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Jewish World Review
Sept. 11, 2009
/ 22 Elul 5769
Obama's last stand?
I've just found out that once again, Barack Obama is shadowing me. I am in Minneapolis for a speech (scheduled for many weeks) about how we must defeat Obamacare. And now he is heading to Minneapolis for a speech (just scheduled) about how we (the people who disagree) must be defeated. What can we expect from Obama? Surely he won't miss the opportunity to trash America (a la last night's "we're the only modern Democracy that doesn't have blah blah blah"). He will no doubt continue to make farcical claims about how his plan won't add a dime to the deficit or interfere with patient-doctor relationships. Z-z-z-z-z
What is most striking about his Wednesday night speech is that for all the breathless build-up, he really didn't say anything to answer the main criticisms of the plan. For months now, he has been making three claims: (1) we will cover everybody; (2) there will not be significant rationing; and (3) we will not add significantly to the budget deficit. Last night, he merely repeated these same claims.
The problem is that those statements cannot be true. If we are giving everyone free health insurance, we will either see rationing, much higher taxes, or much higher deficits. That's just common sense. He can keep making these claims all he wants, but they're just not persuasive.
So despite all the fanfare, the president's speech was the same old same old broth with a bunch of red-meat rhetoric tossed in for the left. He brought no certainty or clarity to the debate. He didn't lay out any deadlines. He didn't even say whether he will veto a bill that does not contain a public option. And he certainly didn't respond to the serious concerns that have been raised by Republicans and others about the financial and economic consequences of this bill. Points that are not credible when made in a normal tone of voice are not made more credible in the louder tone of voice he used last night.
Of course the media savored the slaps at conservatives over "death panels" and the like. And for a few days, we will hear that the speech was a "home run." But if the GOP holds firm, and gives the people time to process the speech, we will see that he hasn't really answered any of the major concerns expressed by so many Americans during August.
My prediction: the summer of the Democrats' discontent will turn into their fall.
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