When I was a kid, I loved the show Family Ties. In one episode, the Keaton's got involved in an impassioned town debate over the issue of book banning. The episode climaxed with a town hall debate in which citizens spoke their mind. One by one, speakers spoke, and the father, Steven Keaton, kept finding that people were taking his points. By the time it was his turn, all his points had been made. So, Steven stood up and said, "I think now is a good time for a round up of what we heard tonight".
That's how I felt watching this speech. There is nothing new here. The president has made these points over and over and over and over again. Yet, he seemed to think that if he made a prime time address that suddenly people would see things differently. This is absurd. It's ridiculous and frankly it's insulting.
He just took up nearly an hour of prime time broadcast coverage in order to make the exact same speech that he's made over one hundred times. The princpiples he talked about today: health exchange, consumer protections, and universally mandated coverage.
Furthermore, Obama again tried to refute some of the most "egregious" false hoods and claims. He started again with the so called "death panels", "coverage for illegal immigrants", "a government takeover of the health care system", and "federal funding for abortions".
Again, I point to Kirsten Powers who said "if you have to convince the public that your plan won't kill grandma, your plan is in trouble". That the president is still countering these charges isn't a sign of anything but just how terribly he has handled insurance.
President Obama again pointed how many states have only a handful of insurers. This was mentioned in the context of a lack of competition. This was done in the context of the public option. The president will NOT allow for the sale of health insurance across state lines. That's the easiest way to increase competition. Instead, he wants a public option. Again, this is the exact same thing he's been saying for months.
It appears the president thinks everything he's doing is working. It's not or he wouldn't be in front of Americans tonight. This speech set a new low for hubris, amateurism, and total and complete incoherence. No one who saw this speech has the first clue what the president's plan is. In fact, most will walk away thinking that they heard the exact same thing that made them confused in the first place.
The president made a few token gestures like an allusion to tort reform. He said he would like to move forward "on a range of ideas to protect patient safety and medical costs". I have no idea what that means. The president was much more specific about a whole host of other ideas and so frankly this lip service is inconsequential.
Obama even went so far as to try and use Kennedy's death to try and peddle this plan. President Obama finished the speech by talking about a letter he received from Ted Kennedy, written in May but delivered on his death, in which Kennedy hoped that this would be the year to see universal health care. It's as if we need to support universal health care because Ted Kennedy died. That's frankly just pathetic. Ted Kennedy was a consummate legislator and he was a public servant. I believe he should be honored but the idea that his death should be used to try and peddle health care reform is just obscene, and yet that's exactly what the president just did.
I recently said that the president went all in with this speech. He did and it appears he was holding a two and a seven (the worst combination in Texas Holdem). This was simply pathetic. For the president to call a prime time speech in front of both chambers and offer absolutely nothing different than he's been saying for six months is simply an insult to all Americans. I want the last hour of my life back.
Please check out my new books, "Prosecutors Gone Wild: The Inside Story of the Trial of Chuck Panici, John Gliottoni, and Louise Marshall" and also, "The Definitive Dossier of PTSD in Whistleblowers"