President Obama took the stage Wednesday night to address Congress without introducing any new substantial proposals to his health care reforms. In what was a highly partisan and theatrical speech, the president scowled at Republicans, quivered his lip, and unleashed verbal threats at those who dared slow down or oppose his plans. He promised to “call out those who use fear tactics or misrepresent his plan for political purposes.” It was an impressive performance, only because such self-righteousness and just under-the-surface anger are rarely displayed by an American president speaking to the entire nation.
And they said John McCain didn't have the temperament to be president?
What do you say to a political figure who speaks half-truths and then says if you question him you're using scare tactics? Even the Associated Press was correcting his "facts" just hours after the speech.
President Obama had a whole month to listen to the nation at town hall meetings, to view signed petitions and gauge the mood of the country, to meet with leaders in the House and Senate who held opposing views, whether Republican or Democrat, and to find places of agreement and pass legislation that would increase competition and cut health care costs immediately. Oddly enough, he hasn't met with Republicans since April, instead preferring to demonize them.
Second Verse, Same as the First!
This president has an agenda and if he can't persuade America to support it, he will simply find a way to force it down our throats. There is no middle ground. Contrast this with President Bush, who came together with Ted Kennedy to pass education reform in his first year of office. Those weren’t two moderates meeting over some meaningless exercise in political posturing. They were a staunch conservative and liberal Democrat working together to see reform all the way through the legislative process.
President Obama, meanwhile, who advertised himself as post-partisan during the campaign, can't even find room to compromise with the most moderate Republicans, and many conservative Democrats have also balked at his costly overhauls.
The same president who sent his own paid community organizers and protesters out into the street to get in the faces of ordinary Americans protesting for the first time, the same president who has used the bully pulpit to make ad hominem attacks against his political opponents, the same president who encourages his surrogates to attack private citizens for speaking their minds, and who's closest advisor, Valerie Jarrett, praised Keith Olbermann for doing the dirty work of this administration, this man is going to lecture us on the proper level of discourse? Give me a break.
Have you realized, Mr. President, how much your strong-arm tactics have divided this nation? You have made the presidency not about the honor of the highest office in the land in the freest nation on earth, not about democracy or free enterprise, not about the great history of this country, but instead about you. You have spent more time in your speeches lauding your own achievements and personal biography than you have the story of America.
How about we stop talking about you, and start talking about ways to fix this economy? If you haven’t noticed, times are tough. Americans are being laid off in record numbers. Businesses are closing that have been in families for generations.
I know you claim to be bipartisan, but I have yet to see you accept an idea or consider a proposal by anyone not on the far Left. With all due respect, you seem all too often to pay lip service to unifying the country, but then turn around and play partisan idealogue the minute the teleprompter shuts down and the cameras turn off. Instead of finding common ground, respecting the Constitution, and listening to the American people, you keep trying to persuade us that your way is the right way. If we disagree, we are called racist, hateful, unpatriotic, and unproductive liars. That’s not pragmatism. That’s demagoguery.
It’s not our fault that the health care bill is 1016 pages and hasn't been read by some members of Congress. It’s not our fault that the language it’s written in is confusing, that representatives who support it have to call a hotline to get answers about how it works, and that it brings up more questions than it answers. It’s not our fault that sections of it raise alarms about our Constitutionally protected liberties and rights to privacy, or that many experts have fears it could, in the wrong hands, be used for malicious purposes. It’s not our fault that you have not been specific and that you have waivered about what you want in the reforms from one day to the next.
Fortunately, despite the messiness of the process, we are engaged as citizens. That is good for democracy, not bad. There’s no reason reform of this magnitude, reform that affects almost one-fifth of the American economy, reform that involves the way the sick and the disabled receive care, and reform that affects end-of-life decisions for the weakest among us needs to be passed quickly in the middle of the night. You know, the way your Communist green jobs "czar" left office.
The last time you asked us to act quickly and limit debate, you signed into law the American Recovery Act, a bill that spent almost a trillion dollars to save jobs and revitalize the economy. Six months later, that bill is a failure based on the criteria it was set out to correct. Unemployment is nearly 10%, our deficit is the worst in American history, we are still mired in a painful recession, and the economy has not been stimulated.
The health care reforms you are proposing cost at least twice as much as the stimulus bill and are predicted to increase according to the nonpartisan CBO. They will add substantially to our deficit. They will change the relationship between government and the individual and the way patients are treated for generations. We can’t afford to make the same mistakes we made on the stimulus bill. There is too much at stake. Slow down, fire your partisan advisors, and start listening to the people.
Believe it or not, it's not about you. It's about the American people.