President Obama presented himself to the nation in 2008 as something new -- a change agent who would bring fresh ideas to our national challenges and solve problems in a post-partisan, unifying fashion.
In fact, as some noted at the time, his ideas were decrepit hand-me-downs, about as novel as disco or the leisure suit. He is a conventional, left-wing statist, George McGovern with a bigger smile, eager to bring ever-larger segments of American life under tight government control and direction. As for unity, his presidency has set new records for contemning the opposition -- a disdain histrionically pantomimed by Joe Biden.
Obama's deep hostility to the private sector has been evident throughout his presidency and popped up like verbal ticks during the first debate. He warned against putting seniors "like my grandmother at the mercy of the private insurance system." Those companies, he added knowingly, "are pretty clever about figuring out who are the younger and healthier seniors." He trotted out his old warhorse about companies "getting tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas," and he claimed that Obamacare protects people from "being jerked around" by insurance companies.
So hostile is the president to insurance companies that he stooped to misrepresenting the facts of his mother's illness and death the better to paint them as malevolent. In a 2008 debate with John McCain, Obama said this: "For my mother to die of cancer at the age of 53 and have to spend the last months of her life in the hospital room arguing with insurance companies because they're saying that this may be a pre-existing condition and they don't have to pay her treatment, there's something fundamentally wrong about that."
As Janny Scott, a former New York Times reporter, revealed in her biography of Stanley Ann Dunham Obama, it didn't happen. Mrs. Obama's medical expenses were paid for by CIGNA. There was a dispute with the company over disability insurance, but the company never attempted to deny coverage for her cancer treatment. When the White House was questioned about the Scott account, a spokesman did not dispute it, saying that it was all a very long time ago.