Here, Have a Place to Talk About That Other Obama Speech
You know. The one where he overthrew the capitalist system to give illegal immigrants federally subsided breast enhancements.
Oh, sorry, wrong universe. I mean, the one where he talked about health care.
Keep it mellow, don’t stab each other in the eyeballs, and remember that slapping down the “Obama = Socialist” card will get you laughed at or deleted as a troll.
I’ll post some thoughts in an update in a bit.
Shorter Barack Obama: Okay, kids, you’ve had your fun with the death panels and the socialism and the illegal immigrants. Now cut that shit out and let’s do this thing.
Which is I suspect most people wanted to hear from the man tonight. Obama does give off the vibe of the PE teacher who lets the kids horse around for the first five minutes of class but then lightly smacks them across the head to get them in line for calisthenics, and I get a sense that people respond to that. I also get a sense that people actually don’t mind listening to him discuss things at length, which is why addresses like this are really a good medium for him. People trust him to be able to hold a thought in his head.
As for what he outlined, I found it all reasonable, but then this isn’t a huge surprise, since Obama’s strategy here is “roll this sucker right down the middle of the road,” which is where I’m at on this. I’m perfectly good with keeping my current insurance and not having to worry about the company kicking my ass out if I get sick because I forgot to disclose I’m allergic to angora rabbits, I’m fine with insurance exchanges, and if it’s necessary I’m fine with some sort of public option for the poor bastards who can’t get insurance any other way. The one thing that twinged me was the “requiring coverage” thing, since I wonder how they’re going to enforce that with either the crazy compound types or (rather more relevantly) people like the Amish or Mennonites, who have religious objections to insurance. In the latter case, at least, there’s already been some discussion.
I do feel sorry for progressives who feel that Obama’s too eager to compromise on points they feel he doesn’t have to, but as noted before at a certain point I think it should have been obvious to everyone that Obama’s essentially centrist, and that his goal is to get the fundamental concept of universal coverage on the books now, and not worry about fiddly details that can be worried about later. I think Obama’s also aware that any GOP participation now on the legislation makes it harder for a potential future GOP majority to throw it out later. And so on.
To boil it down in sports terms, progressives want Obama to throw long bombs deep into enemy territory, and Obama’s content with a “three yards and a cloud of dust” strategy. My thought on it is: with past legislative victories, the dude’s made it clear he can put points on the board, so if I were on his team, I’d let him play the game how he wants to.
As for the Republicans, well, a handy tip: When the President of the United States is going out of his way to give you props in a joint address of Congress, having one of your number shout “you lie!” loud enough to get picked up on TV makes you look bad. Especially when, the president is in fact not lying about the thing he’s being accused of lying about (federal health care coverage for illegal immigrants). Which makes that particular representative (apparently Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina) look ignorant. I mean, really, Rep. Wilson; if you’re going to make an ass of yourself on the floor of the House, at least make an ass of yourself on a topic you’re accurate about.
On the other hand, Wilson’s just made himself into the dickhead poster boy of unthinking partisanship for the rest of the health care debate, and don’t think the people who want to get health care passed won’t exploit the hell out of it. So, you know. Well done, Rep. Wilson. Well done indeed.
And there you have it.
Also, the text of the speech.