The rationale of Obama’s health care gabfest was theatrical. The bipartisan aura was intended to support the effort to ram Obamacare through the House and the Senate on a purely partisan basis, capped off by the use of reconciliation in the Senate. White House spinmeister Dan Pfeiffer holds that the event provided “a good discussion and even though people periodically lapsed into talking points, it was honest, substantive and thoughtful.” Pfeiffer’s role in the production is to maintain the suspension of disbelief necessary to take the play seriously.
The Republican speakers (Lamar Alexander, Tom Coburn, Jon Kyl, John McCain, Dave Camp, John Barrasso, and Paul Ryan) did an excellent job of addressing the flaws inherent in Obamacare. When they were most effective, Professor Obama sought to shut them down or rule them out of order. Despite Professor Obama’s vaunted intelligence, this was one class in which roughly half the students were smarter and at least as knowledgeable as the teacher; the other half provided comic relief. The dog ate their homework.
All the Republicans who spoke deserve kudos. They showed the teacher up as a pretender. In one way or another, they both elicited and pierced Obama’s pomposity. The remarks of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (video above) stole the show in this regard. Among other things, Ryan discussed the fiscal legerdemain that permeates the Obamacare project. Ryan deconstructs the fairy tale at the heart of Obamacare.
Obama was not amused. Obama treated Ryan’s performance as lèse-majesté, an offense violating his royal dignity. Professor Obama seethed as Ryan spoke; he badly wanted to throw Ryan out of the class. Instead, he gives Ryan the evil eye and appears to give Ryan the finger. It’s a moment that reveals something of the animus driving the project.
Via Hot Air and Weekly Standard.
UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds points readers to the screen shot of Obama during Ryan’s remarks, captured by Stephen Green. And Michelle Malkin reviews the play in her column today, while Tunku Varadarajan distills the spirit: “After this six-and-a-half-hour civics lesson, let us now return to the Leninist mode: that of crushing the opposition.”
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