In Phoenix yesterday, talking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, President Obama promised that, “One thing that reform won't change is veterans health care. No one is going to take away your benefits.”
As an aside, the veterans broke out in loud and sustained applause at that point, which made me just slightly ashamed to be a veteran, albeit not one of any foreign war.
To seniors he promises that no one will take away Medicare. To poor people he promises that Medicaid will remain intact. To people with insurance that they like he guarantees that they will be able to keep it. To people without insurance due to preexisting conditions, he promises that those conditions will not count against them any more. To people without insurance because they cannot afford it he promises that they will now be able to afford it.
The only losers are people who actually don’t want health insurance; they will now be required to carry and pay for it. But he doesn’t speak to them.
This is not leadership, this is pandering.
During his campaign Obama spoke of a great nation; he spoke of principles and what he believed in; he spoke of changing the way things are done in Washington. Since he has been in Washington he has brokered deals. He has pandered to the public by appealing to their greed and catering to their fears. Instead of health care reform for the greatness of a nation, he is pandering on a health insurance reform that gives everything to everybody and is somehow magically going to dramatically reduce costs. He claims the same old, tired reduction in the form of “saving billions by reducing waste and fraud.” How many times have we heard that generic promise?
Instead of defining what he believes reform to be, fleshing out what he hinted at in his campaign, he triangulates and allows reform to be defined for him as "whatever I can get passed by Congress," however ugly and ineffectual that end result might be.
Instead of leadership, we get just another politician who values programs over principles and pays for those programs with magic.