Monday, April 12, 2010

Doris Has a Point, and Obama doesn't get it

When President Obama gets something right, I’ll be the first to admit it.

The problem is he’s got such a lousy track record for ever getting anything right.

Most politicians have a hard time answering a question directly, especially if the question doesn’t exactly fit in with the talking points that they have chosen to cover at the time.

But Obama set a new standard for exhibiting the symptoms of diarrhea-of-the-mouth with his answer to Doris’ question last week.

You can read the entire exchange here, and you can see the first part of it here.

At a recent event in Charlotte, North Carolina, a lady who identified herself as Doris asked a very simple question: Is it wise to add more taxes with the health care reforms that have recently been passed, since we are over-taxed as it is?

A simple question. It deserved a simple answer. If I had been asked that question, I would have no problem coming up with a concise response: No, it is not, and that is the primary reason I was against health care reform as it was passed by Congress.

The President never sees things as simple as that. Maintaining his campaign mode in spite of his recent victory, he rambled incoherently for 17 minutes and 2500 words.

He talked about cobra. He referred to people with insurance as being “lucky”. He said that lifetime limits are “fine print”. He made a “final point” at the four-minute mark and kept talking for 13 more.

He talked about federal health care systems already being out of control and suggested that they be replaced by — wait for it — another federal health care system.

He talked about the deficit — which Doris never asked about — and then cited programs that will by their very existence, blow the deficit out of the water.

He talked about the “quality” of medical tests and suggested that doctors send emails to each other, even thought the health care bill doesn’t address those issues and Doris never asked about them.

Somebody must have told him that an analogy of fixing the roof on a house resonates well, because he told some sort of awkward story that claimed if I fix the leaky roof in my house, the people who are shivering outside in the cold are somehow going to benefit.

He complained about President Bush’s war in Iraq — supported by virtually every Democrat in Congress. He complained about the Medicare prescription plan — passed by Democrats in Congress. He complained about Medicare Advantage — passed by Democrats in Congress.

He threw one of his biggest supporters — Warren Buffet — under the bus, calling him out by name and bragging that he was going to raise Mr. Buffet’s taxes on dividends and capital gains, not to raise more revenue, but because it was an issue of “fairness”.

Finally, he interrupted himself as he was explaining the Congressional Budget Office’s accounting gymnastics to make sure he was answering the question — which he never did.

If the President had been philosophically honest, he could have given Doris a very succinct answer: “Frankly, Doris, I don’t believe you are taxed enough already”. It could have been that simple.

If he had answered the question honestly, he would have to reveal the fundamental difference that he has with the Tea Party movement, which received its name by blending the name of the famous 1773 Boston tax revolution with the acronym “Taxed Enough Already”.

Unwittingly, perhaps, Doris expressed her sympathy with the primary purpose of the revolutionary movement.

I’m not sure what a “fair” amount would be for a federal government to involuntarily extract from its citizens to promote the common welfare. Five percent? Ten percent? Ninty percent (as suggested by some members in Congress)?

I just know that we passed that threshold a long time ago. Enough is enough.