There was an overwhelmingly fictional quality to President Obama’s press conference last night from his opening remarks on. Promoting his notional health care reform plan, whatever it is, he endlessly asserts a set of talking points that would be demonstrably false if we had the text of a plan to check it against, such as the House’s thousand-page monstrosity.
When he is about to unleash a whopper of special magnitude, Obama emits a tell-tale sign. He prefaces it with “let me be clear” or “understand this.” Last night he achieved such “clarity” twice in his opening remarks. First:
[L]et me be clear: If we do not control these costs, we will not be able to control our deficit. If we do not reform health care, your premiums and out-of-pocket costs will continue to skyrocket. If we don’t act, 14,000 Americans will continue to lose their health insurance every single day.
Translation: My plan — whatever it is — will of course add markedly to the record spending and related deficits we are already racking up, not to mention the tax burden that the federal government will impose on the economy.
[L]et me be clear: This isn’t about me. I have great health insurance, and so does every member of Congress. This debate is about the letters I read when I sit in the Oval Office every day and the stories I hear at town hall meetings.
Translation: This is all about me. I seek to make my mark as the Democratic president who achieved the socialist scheme previous Democratic presidents have only dreamed of. I mean to put them in my shadow.
In his Ethics, Spinoza sought to prove his philosophy through the use of the method Euclid applied to his geometric theorems. (The original title of the Ethics is Ethics Demonstrated In Geometric Order.) By the same token, one could apply the method to disprove the veracity of Obama’s endlessly repeated talking points regarding his notional plan.
Vastly enlarging the federal health care entitlement is necessary to get the budget under control. It will be done without increasing budget deficits through taxes on “the rich.” And if you like your health care insurance, you will be able to keep it (this despite the incentives created for employers to dump their employees into the federal “health care exchange”). It will decrease the cost and increase the quality of health care. Two-thirds of the expense of the program will be covered by funds “reallocated” from elsewhere. Of all the goods that it is possible for such a plan to do, there is no good it will leave undone. The fictional quality of Obama’s talking points is akin to that of a fairy tale for children.
Children, consider the question brought up by the lefty blogger in the telephone conference call with President Obama noted here by the Heritage Foundation blog. Investor’s Business Daily has made the case that the House health reform bill will essentially outlaw the private insurance market, and earlier this week it restated its argument. It is at the least highly plausible, sufficiently so that the lefty blogger wanted the president’s reassurance on the point. The lefty blogger asked Obama, is this true?
Obama responded: “You know, I have to say that I am not familiar with the provision you are talking about.” Yet later in the call Obama reiterates his usual talking point: “If you have health insurance, and you like it, and you have a doctor that you like, then you can keep it. Period.”
As Spinoza might put it, any relationship between Obama’s health care talking points and the truth is purely accidental. The talking points that Obama endlessly yammers are poll-tested attributes of a plan that the public would support. They do not subsist in any Democratic plan being written in Congress or that will be supported by Obama.
UPDATE (link corrected): Grace-Marie Turner makes related points in the New York Post column “Trying to talk around the facts.”
MORE: James Pethokoukis wonders whether Obama killed Obamacare last night. I prescribe a dose of his optimism to you.