President Obama delivered a speech to America's schoolchildren yesterday. Now admit it, conservatives and obstructionists: aren't you glad the President stuck with the teleprompter and didn't go off on some some Red surprise on your helpless children? He even ended with his little boost for the theocracy. What's not to cheer about that?
So as your trusty teachers return to their regularly scheduled lesson plans, teaching patriotic little books like The Grapes of Wrath (Steinbeck readers of the world, unite!), we turn our attention to a much bigger Presidential speech, Barack Obama's address tonight to a joint session of Congress on health care reform. I approach this speech with dread, as the White House has been sending all sorts of conciliatory signals that it plans to compromise with an opposition that hasn't budged and won't budge. President Obama seems likely to continue the nice-guy approach, seeking bipartisanship that will win at best three votes from a party otherwise singularly focused on destroying the President.
I won't get my wish, but I'll wish it anyway: I wish President Obama would take the podium tonight, kick over the teleprompters, and quote Rebecca Terk's fine headline:
Six words, Mr. President. The first three capture perfectly the nature of the obfuscations and outright lies spread by those who prefer the status quo's corporate profits and needless deaths to effective health insurance reform. The last three capture perfectly the simple and necessary element of the plan: a public insurance option that sets the standard for affordable, universal coverage that can't be taken away from any citizen.
Rebecca makes the case from her own experience of working hard to earn health benefits, only to have the insurance company do all it can to do nothing for her. Work hard, get bupkis—that's not the American way I learned in school. That's not what the President told our kids yesterday.
Darned socialist teachers like Rebecca understand that the current sytem isn't working. What a joy it would be to have the President follow Rebecca's lead on health care (and mine, David's, Adam's, and Bill's), stand up tonight, and throw the B.S. flag.
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