Those who claim that President Barack Obama's speech on health care this week wasn't a glorious success are fooling themselves. A Washington takeover of health care never sounded so enticing or fun.
Just ignore the specifics, because when the president says he welcomes substantive new ideas, he means that if you have the nerve to offer any ideas -- as Whole Foods' CEO, John Mackey, did in The Wall Street Journal last month -- his allies will attempt to destroy your business and reputation.
And when the president says he welcomes bipartisanship, what he means is that he hasn't met with a single Republican on the issue since April -- despite numerous requests and two separate House bills chock-full of ideas.
When this president says he is a deal-making centrist and will stand up to his own party, he means he will rebuff progressives on a complete straw man, such as a "single-payer" plan (a plan he supported at one time), which has been a non-starter in any iteration of health care reform this year. I only wish there were a stronger word for "courage."
When the president says everyone must chip in and sacrifice, he means more than 95 percent of small businesses won't have to chip in and sacrifice. That's good. But consider his plan a small-business generator, because larger businesses are sure to be small in no time (and many small businesses have a new incentive to stay that way).
President Obama says government will mandate that every American purchase insurance (despite his campaign promise not to do so) rather than allow us to indulge in "irresponsible behavior" -- or, in other words, "choice."
Insurance companies, on the other hand, will be mandated to provide coverage, with no extra charge, to everyone, no matter how irresponsibly they behave. Also, feel free to ask for checkups and "preventive" care, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, on demand, no matter how needless your visit may be, no questions asked, no extra cost.
That should bend the cost curve in the right direction.
When the president says there is no possibility that a government-run public option could crowd out private markets, as such options have in nearly every other arena they operate in, he, as the tactful Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina might say, is trading in hogwash.
Asymmetrical Politics: Republicans Act Like an Unruly Mob, Democrats Like a Regimented Army | Michael Barone