Mona Charen

Obama always summarizes his health care pitch with the dubious claim that if we just simplify record keeping and streamline health delivery, we can save "$100 to 125 billion per year, enough to provide health insurance to every man, woman, and child in the country."

That's dubious, to say the least. It's the no trade-offs necessary happy talk he peddles on many issues. We don't have to make difficult choices about energy. If we simply increase required miles per gallon to 45, "we'd have to import zero oil from the Middle East." And echoing Al Gore, Obama urges that green technology will be a great source of new wealth as American ingenuity devises improved products.

Well maybe, but if environmentally friendly products were great wealth generators, why would government need to subsidize them? And while Obama doesn't shrink from recommending new taxes, he assures listeners that these will be paid only by the rich. Is this new or cloyingly familiar? He who taxes Peter to pay Paul can usually count on the vote of Paul.

The war on terror scarcely exists in the world Obama traces for his audiences. Instead, he focuses relentlessly on what he regards as the misguided war in Iraq. "We need to do more than end the war," he intones, "we need to end the mindset that got us into war." We know which mindset Sen. Obama will bring to foreign policy -- the "diplomacy only" style last employed to such great effect by Jimmy Carter.

"Cynicism is a sorry kind of wisdom," Obama offers in one of his better lines. But a little worldliness would not be amiss for the golden-tongued senator. All of that soaring rhetoric is supported by policies that are so old they creak. Obama may be shiny, bright and new, but his ideas are suffering from senility.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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