The headline for this article simply isn’t credible for people who paid attention to President Obama’s townhall meeting. Here’s the story’s headline:

Obama takes reins of health debate

That’s a great headline if you’re working for Linda Douglass but it doesn’t have anything to do with reality. Considering the fact that Robert Gibbs is saying that President Obama simply misspoke when he said that AARP had endorsed the plan, it isn’t a stretch to say that ObamaCare suffered a self-inflicted wound. Here’s a perfect example of why President Obama is losing this fight:

President Obama launched a personal effort to reclaim the momentum for his health care initiative on Tuesday with a direct rebuttal of what he called “scare tactics,” rumors and misrepresentations.

At a town hall that had the feel of a campaign rally, administration officials sought to tap the skill in confronting public doubts and fears that helped Obama win the White House.

“Every time we come close to passing health insurance reform, the special interests fight back with everything they’ve got,” Obama told a civil but not necessarily friendly crowd of 1,800. “They use their influence. They use their political allies to scare and mislead the American people. They start running ads. This is what they always do. We can’t let them do it again. Not this time. Not now.”

I’ve said before what I’ll say now: the American people are so interested in this debate that many are reading the bill for themselves. This Army of Davids knows more about the bill than do congressional Democrats who’ve hit the townhall circuit. They’ve read articles about President Obama when he proposed $313,000,000,000 worth of Medicare cuts. They’ve done the math and concluded that there will be rationing. That’s the logical conclusion people reach when the Medicare budget is cut by 10 percent while Medicare enrollment is increasing by 30 percent.

President Obama unwittingly hurt the cause with this unscripted quip:

And he said that a government-run option should not kill private insurers, but rather force them to be more competitive. “UPS and Fed Ex are doing just fine,” Obama joked in an example. “It’s the post office that’s always having problems.”

Earlier tonight, I mentioned that the post office analogy didn’t fit with Medicare. Here’s why:

1. Medicare has the market cornered for seniors, with 80+ percent of senior citizens getting their health insurance through Medicare.
2. Medicare can impose price controls on doctors, hospitals and tests.
3. Medicare can raise premiums and raise taxes with little consequence to the program.
4. The Post Office has to compete on truly level playing field with Fedex and UPS for business.
5. The Post Office can’t raise prices too much for fear that FedEx and UPS will take more of their customers away.

It’s also important to note that the Post Office is losing money while UPS and FedEx are making money while they’re competing a relatively level playing field. The playing field is anything but level for the reasons cited above.

Senior adviser David Axelrod said the president had for weeks been “relishing” the opportunity to engage directly with people to defend his efforts to overhaul the nation’s health care system, and he said the angry crowds at congressional town meetings do not reflect the larger society.

Does Mr. Axelrod mean relish as in saying making an ass of himself by showing government-run entities can’t compete with the private sector? Let’s get serious here. President Obama tried and failed to put out the fire that’s erupted because this administration and congressional Democrats lack credibility. Having Linda Douglass put together a pathetic video saying that she was there to squash misinformation was a big mistake, though the NY Times will never admit it.

President Obama’s credibility can be traced to the Friday night that the stimulus passed. President Obama spent the prior 2 weeks criss-crossing the country telling everyone who’d listen that Congress had to pass the bill ASAP to avert an economic catastrophe. When President Obama didn’t sign the bill that night, he lost a ton of credibility. It didn’t help that Congress admitted that they didn’t even read the bill before voting on the bill.

That’s the point at which people started asking questions like “If it was so urgent to pass the bill without reading the bill, why didn’t President Obama sign it that night?” That’s the point at which Republicans and independents started challenging the Obama administration directly.

This post, written by Powerline’s Scott Johnson, includes an email from a Florida physician that excoriates President Obama’s claim about amputations. Here’s the content of that email:

I’m a neurosurgeon and my wife is a primary care doctor. In southwest Florida, the maximum allowable surgical fee for an amputation, under Medicare, is several hundred dollars. The hospital may be reimbursed $5,000-10,000, but $30,000-50,000 is a fantasy.

Primary care doctors spend all day trying to get their patients to live healthier lifestyles. Recently, the President confessed he has not fully kicked the cigarette habit, which is a condition far more unhealthy than obesity. Surely the President is aware of the dangers of smoking, or does he believe his habit is the physician’s failure?

But for a few medical conditions, preventive medicine does not save money. This is not debatable, it has been proven repeatedly for most disorders studied.

The President’s ignorance in these matters is breathtaking. Heaven help us if he controls our health care choices.

Simply put, President Obama’s credibility is shrinking rapidly. It’s almost to the point where the Joe Wilson joke would apply. Applied here, it would read: How can you tell if President Obama is telling a whopper about health care? See if his lips are moving.

Personally, I think Michael Barone has it exactly right:

“I don’t want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking,” Barack Obama said on a campaign stop in Virginia on Aug. 6. “I want them just to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess.”

When a politician tries to stop debate, it’s a sign he’s losing the argument. Obama seems to have let the House Democrats overplay their hand. He ignored the fact that in our system neither party ever has all the advantages.

President Obama hasn’t dealt with that reality yet. He can’t afford to; if he tells the Nutroots that there’s a limit to the amount of liberalism that this nation will take, they’ll abandon him politically.

Does that sound like the type of person who took the “reins of the health care debate”? I didn’t think so either.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

7 Responses to “That’s What Happened?”

  • Dave Thul says:

    Interesting how the headline changed over time. It started as “Before friendly town hall, Obama takes on health care critics, says they create bogeyman”.

    Then the Strib changed the headline to “Obama takes on role of fact checker as he pushes for health care overhaul”.

  • FeFe says:

    Funny how America’s tolerance of nutroots over the past 8 yrs gave them visions of grandeur and intolerance.

  • J. Ewing says:

    I’m not sure that the failure of the USPS analogy has been fully vetted. The USPS has a legal monopoly on first class mail that USPS and FEDEX can’t breach. They are STILL losing money. Medicare has a legal monopoly (it is mandatory) on basic medical care, yet many companies (like GM) are going broke trying to provide retiree health care benefits, and a “Medigap” insurance market continues to thrive. If government knew how to run a health insurance business that minimized cost, maintained quality and covered everybody they would have done it and “Medicare for all” would make eminent good sense. Instead, we discover that it is Medicare that is failing on all counts, illustrating the fundamental truth that government CAN NOT run anything that the free market cannot run better.

  • ExZonie says:

    Re J. Ewing, you are right. Isn’t it convenient that HR3200 eliminates Medigap? Now we’ll have MediCAP!

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