Obama's Groundhog Day

Clarice Feldman and Rosslyn Smith
In Groundhog Day, the main character, a TV weatherman who thinks he is superior to those in the small market city his station serves, learns humility after having to endlessly repeat his worst day of the year. Obama has cast himself as the lead in a remake currently unrolling, but will the ending be as happy as the original?  I suspect that for once farce will get replayed as tragedy.

In The Unhealthy Politics of Deja Vu, physician and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute David Gratzer noted this about Obama's speech before the joint session of Congress:

It's as though the last sixteen years never even happened. It's like a health-care Groundhog Day where Americans wake up to the same tired arguments for government-run care every morning, simply because Democratic Presidents can't resist testing the same pick-up lines on an unwilling America.

And the lines are wearing thin. The President (yes, Obama this time) told Congress that "our collective failure to meet this challenge--year after year, decade after decade--has led us to a breaking point." Has it really? When President Clinton conjured similar fears about pink slips and millions losing coverage to Congress in 1993, 15.3% of Americans were uninsured. In 2007, the percentage of Americans without insurance was...15.3%. A solution to this problem is needed, but the fact that it hasn't grown worse is a sign that Congress has time to think, and little reason to panic.

Dr. Gratzer underestates how long the left has replayed this stale script. The general outline of the single payer plan is relatively unchanged since the 1930s. That is ancient history to medical practitioners. In the 1930s diseases that have been made rare today due to antibiotics like penicillin were common, while expensive technologies common today, such as joint replacements and cardiac pacemakers, were the stuff of science fiction.  So was the incredibly expensive field of neonatal intensive care. In the 1930s the only advice given to the adult onset diabetic was to watch the diet and get more exercise.  Today, a whole cocktail of expensive drugs to lower blood sugar and reduce the risk of impact on other organs are employed. And if that doesn't work to limit damaging side effects, kidney dialysis and laser surgery to restore vision are employed.  The technology has both extended life expectancies and raised expectations as to the type of lifestyles people expect in their retirement.

Talk about being stuck in an endless loop! At a time when developed nations that adopted a single payer plan decades earlier are under increasing financial strain to pay for longer life expectancies and all this new technology, the Democrat left has their eyes fixed firmly on the past.   Call it the triumph of their long stale utopian hopes over the promise of positive change.  

Dr. Gratzer goes on to note  

President Obama's address to Congress made it clear that he's barely listened to the national debate on health care that he himself set in motion. Yesterday's teachable moment: the more America learns about government-run health care, the more Barack Obama wants to talk, and the less he wants to hear.

Actually, it was far worse than that.  Obama didn't just ignore critics of single payer.  Obama openly insulted those who showed up at the town halls and recess rallies when he dismissed their concerns as bickering and accused them of being gullible to the alleged lies being maliciously spread by his political opponents.  Bryon York summed up his analysis of the event with the pithy tag The Anti-August Speech.   There are three things you don't do when faced with an awful lot of angry people.  You don't ignore them. You don't call them liars. And you don't ever tell them to just sit down and shut up because you know what is best.  Obama managed to do all three at once. With this speech Obama displayed why his peers in both the Illinois and the U.S. Senate never elected him to a leadership position.  He doesn't have the skill set.

Obama has been repeating the same set of talking points on health care for months now, expecting to sell a program that Americans have found unpalatable for the last seven decades by dint of his overwhelming aura of cool  (As Jonah Goldberg notes- More Cowbell!) . Instead of addressing specific concerns, he has evaded the tough questions by appearing before hand picked audiences, his facts have been ever changing, and he has told a great many big, fat outright lies

At least Bill Murray's weatherman never expected a different result each time he mouthed the same lines.  Unlike Bill Ayers' protégée, he knew which way the wind was blowing. 

The tragedy here belongs to America not Obama.  Obama lacks the requisite grace necessary to make a hubris driven fall seem tragic as opposed to well deserved.  As was noted by Jude on Hugh Hewitt's blog

What makes this irredeemably tragic, though, is that after inspiring some of the best minds in politics and policy to engage on the issue, like Newt, CEI, Heritage, CATO, Christensen (who, like others, has been working on this for years), and the folks at Critical Condition, the President and his party aren't taking their proposals or criticisms seriously and putting them on the table.
In Groundhog Day, the main character, a TV weatherman who thinks he is superior to those in the small market city his station serves, learns humility after having to endlessly repeat his worst day of the year. Obama has cast himself as the lead in a remake currently unrolling, but will the ending be as happy as the original?  I suspect that for once farce will get replayed as tragedy.

In The Unhealthy Politics of Deja Vu, physician and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute David Gratzer noted this about Obama's speech before the joint session of Congress:

It's as though the last sixteen years never even happened. It's like a health-care Groundhog Day where Americans wake up to the same tired arguments for government-run care every morning, simply because Democratic Presidents can't resist testing the same pick-up lines on an unwilling America.

And the lines are wearing thin. The President (yes, Obama this time) told Congress that "our collective failure to meet this challenge--year after year, decade after decade--has led us to a breaking point." Has it really? When President Clinton conjured similar fears about pink slips and millions losing coverage to Congress in 1993, 15.3% of Americans were uninsured. In 2007, the percentage of Americans without insurance was...15.3%. A solution to this problem is needed, but the fact that it hasn't grown worse is a sign that Congress has time to think, and little reason to panic.

Dr. Gratzer underestates how long the left has replayed this stale script. The general outline of the single payer plan is relatively unchanged since the 1930s. That is ancient history to medical practitioners. In the 1930s diseases that have been made rare today due to antibiotics like penicillin were common, while expensive technologies common today, such as joint replacements and cardiac pacemakers, were the stuff of science fiction.  So was the incredibly expensive field of neonatal intensive care. In the 1930s the only advice given to the adult onset diabetic was to watch the diet and get more exercise.  Today, a whole cocktail of expensive drugs to lower blood sugar and reduce the risk of impact on other organs are employed. And if that doesn't work to limit damaging side effects, kidney dialysis and laser surgery to restore vision are employed.  The technology has both extended life expectancies and raised expectations as to the type of lifestyles people expect in their retirement.

Talk about being stuck in an endless loop! At a time when developed nations that adopted a single payer plan decades earlier are under increasing financial strain to pay for longer life expectancies and all this new technology, the Democrat left has their eyes fixed firmly on the past.   Call it the triumph of their long stale utopian hopes over the promise of positive change.  

Dr. Gratzer goes on to note  

President Obama's address to Congress made it clear that he's barely listened to the national debate on health care that he himself set in motion. Yesterday's teachable moment: the more America learns about government-run health care, the more Barack Obama wants to talk, and the less he wants to hear.

Actually, it was far worse than that.  Obama didn't just ignore critics of single payer.  Obama openly insulted those who showed up at the town halls and recess rallies when he dismissed their concerns as bickering and accused them of being gullible to the alleged lies being maliciously spread by his political opponents.  Bryon York summed up his analysis of the event with the pithy tag The Anti-August Speech.   There are three things you don't do when faced with an awful lot of angry people.  You don't ignore them. You don't call them liars. And you don't ever tell them to just sit down and shut up because you know what is best.  Obama managed to do all three at once. With this speech Obama displayed why his peers in both the Illinois and the U.S. Senate never elected him to a leadership position.  He doesn't have the skill set.

Obama has been repeating the same set of talking points on health care for months now, expecting to sell a program that Americans have found unpalatable for the last seven decades by dint of his overwhelming aura of cool  (As Jonah Goldberg notes- More Cowbell!) . Instead of addressing specific concerns, he has evaded the tough questions by appearing before hand picked audiences, his facts have been ever changing, and he has told a great many big, fat outright lies

At least Bill Murray's weatherman never expected a different result each time he mouthed the same lines.  Unlike Bill Ayers' protégée, he knew which way the wind was blowing. 

The tragedy here belongs to America not Obama.  Obama lacks the requisite grace necessary to make a hubris driven fall seem tragic as opposed to well deserved.  As was noted by Jude on Hugh Hewitt's blog

What makes this irredeemably tragic, though, is that after inspiring some of the best minds in politics and policy to engage on the issue, like Newt, CEI, Heritage, CATO, Christensen (who, like others, has been working on this for years), and the folks at Critical Condition, the President and his party aren't taking their proposals or criticisms seriously and putting them on the table.