It's Sunday, and you know what that means. Politics. But I'm getting ready to go to an anniversary party, and so I am trying to reconcile party and politics mode.
As was expected, the president spoke last Wednesday night about health care reform to a joint session of congress. I held my breath as he began. As speeches go, it was a good one with a passionate delivery. Unfortunately, I've grown weary of the rhetoric, especially since what President Obama will settle for seems to change with the tides of political fortune. Oh, don't get me wrong, the democrats will pass something, but I doubt it will be something that will benefit those who need it most, nor will it slap the wrists of those who are gouging the system.
Reaction to the content of the speech was largely overshadowed by the big hubbub made about Joe Wilson, the Congressman from South Carolina who yelled out "You lie" while President Obama was speaking. Did he think he was in a bar? Or was he just raised by a pack of wolves? Surely there is some congressional book of etiquette that you're given before they let you into the club. Shame on him.
For my part, I had a problem with the president's new definition of "public option." As I understood him, this would only be available to people with no coverage at all. That defeats the purpose of creating competition for the insurance companies. Take someone like me whose premiums have nearly tripled. I would take the public option in a heartbeat, but now this would not be available to me because I already have coverage that I would not be allowed to leave for a more affordable public option. How is that driving down costs? It's not. I would drop my policy now and gamble, but I don't have the stomach to bet on the federal government coming through for me on this. Do you?
And for a final note about the speech I go back to Ted Kennedy. Senator Kennedy sent a letter to the president regarding health care reform shortly before his death. So why didn't the president read the darn letter? Everyone was waiting with baited breath. Even Joe Wilson was quiet. And yet, President Obama never read it, he just quoted a phrase here and there. What a disappointment.
Maybe I'm getting cranky because we are running out of time. Maybe I am losing heart and faith in the man whose poetic words seemed like they could move the mountains of inertia and corporate greed in Washington. Maybe I expected that his passion for the best interests of the American people would give him the qualities necessary to achieve those results. Maybe I thought that the long shot coming from behind to win a history-making election had the gumption to twist a few congressional and senatorial arms when and if necessary.
I've said that I was holding off on my presidential report card, but maybe it's time for a warning that he's about to flunk. Harsh words coming from me? You bet. But he's about to compromise away the life and death of many Americans with a democratic majority in the house and senate. That's just not okay with me.
So Mr. President, please walk your talk - the talk you gave that said we will rise up to meet the needs of this moment in history. Let's actually make good on that.
God Bless America, and thanks for stopping by. Please tell your friends.