“Well the time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed. Now is the season for action. Now is when we must bring the best ideas of both parties together, and show the American people that we can still do what we were sent here to do. Now is the time to deliver on health care.” – President Obama, September 9, 2009
It is said that leadership starts at the top, not the bottom. If that is so, then Mr. Obama should be displaying the behavior he wants all his critics to display. For example, he says that, “The time for games has passed.” That would mean Mr. Obama should stop playing games. From the start of the healthcare push, Mr. Obama has been playing a game. He has refused to give specifics and claims to be leaving the crafting of the bill where it belongs, in Congress. Since Congress is charged with developing legislation, he is right to do this. However, he then makes claims about the plan with all the power of the Presidency behind those claims. Then, when it turns out those claims are untrue or unpopular, his game allows him to lay blame at the foot of Congress.
Last night’s speech was billed as a chance for Mr. Obama to clear the air and get specific about what he feels we should do to reform healthcare. Instead, he danced around the issues that most worry the public, or, he made claims that will be ultimately deniable when Congress does something counter to those claims. For example, during the August Congressional Recess, most members of Congress heard concerns from constituents of all stripes. What they heard loud and clear was, “Don’t take my doctor, my insurance from me.” In response to this, last night, Mr. Obama said, “First, if you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, Medicare, Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have. Let me repeat this: nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.” Technically that may be true. But, it is a game. Every analysis I have read agrees that as written, this bill’s end result will be very large numbers (as in Millions) of Americans having to change medical providers. It is all part of his game.
Monkey see, monkey do, Mr. President. You want games to stop. Stop playing the game and level with the people.