by Victor Davis Hanson
Obama’s problem with warning Americans about bickering, partisan politics, lying, and misrepresentation Wednesday night is that his green advisor Van Jones just left after it was disclosed that he called Republicans “a–holes”, whites polluters/more prone to mass murder in schools, and charged the former President with involvement in 9/11. Obama said nothing about such “lying” and “misrepresentation” in his administration — other than to warn school kids to be careful what they put on facebook, twitter and the internet since it can be brought back up for the rest of their lives (i.e., poor Van Jones).
Like ‘hope and change’, ‘this is our moment’, and the now old ‘greatest time in history’ tropes, so too we are getting used to a highly partisan president complaining about partisanship.
Yet, all the American people wanted to hear Wednesday night was 1) the rough cost and where the money comes from (not more gimmicks that bad people will have to cut their profits or magic savings will come from waste and fraud [if the latter is really true, why not bank the savings right now?]); 2) how those who fall through the cracks will be covered (is it 30, 46, or how many million in Obama’s latest version?); and some appreciation that a great system can be improved, rather than the old anecdotes about victims of bad people that we’ve become used to on the campaign trail. (Trying to attach his agenda to the condolences of Ted Kennedy or raising the bloody shirt that more will “die” will not scare or charm a reluctant public that likes its present health and is uneasy about a state-run plan with caretakers of the likes of a Geithner or Jones. Most believe that more will in fact die if we have a Canadian or British style system that devolves into rationing care.)
The President really has to watch this constant return to these soaring cadences that deliver banalities. One cannot sound like Lincoln if there really is no message. It is time to move on, ignore criticism, and offer something that most can work with; instead, after 9 months we are getting a ‘they are mean to me’ whine at about every speech and photo-op, in the manner of biblical prophets who lash out at doubters.
Obama never gives many concrete details, nor gets precise and concise, and now one wonders whether it is because he simply thinks he can go to the hope-and-change/soar-like-an-eagle mode, and we will once more get mesmerized, or he has nothing to say at all, or both. But most caught on to all that, and now want a plan, not a prophet.
Bottom line? Obama should just borrow from the Republican plan, assure the Democrats he’s extending coverage to those uncovered, and then, and only then, go back to his eagle routine and soar with it in the stratosphere with “I alone hoped and changed healthcare.”
©2009 Victor Davis Hanson