Health care protesters (a.k.a. “angry mobs” trying to shut off debate) have been spotted carrying signs sporting the P.J. Oâ€™Rourke quote, â€œIf you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.”
Equally popular is some form of the famous observation by columnist Carol Platt Liebau that, “A government bureaucracy controlling your medical care is likely to combine the efficiency of the Post Office with the compassion of the IRSâ€ — which has been misattributed to Ronald Reagan among many others, andÂ has been repeated and adapted ad infinitum.
Now comes Barack ObamaÂ — reputedly the smartest President in generations, the greatest orator since Camelot –Â who once told Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidÂ (perhaps the dullest orator since Camelot)Â that he (Obama) had a â€œgiftâ€ for moving an audience. Now the President has joined in the health care debate without appreciating how powerfully the Post Office example resonates with the American people.
Thinking he was disproving the notion that the so-called â€œpublic optionâ€ would crowd out private insurance by making it impossible for them to compete, ObamaÂ supplied a new, if considerably less clever, addition to the above conservative talking points:
â€œThey do it all the time.Â If you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. Itâ€™s the Post Office thatâ€™s always having problems.â€
Exactly, Mr. President!
There was no mention of this blunder that I could find on MSNBC, and only a fleeting one on CNN, where the quote was reported, though with no recognition that it madeÂ the oppositeÂ point than was intended.
I seem to remember George W. Bush getting prominent coverage for much less…
Somebody had better fix that teleprompter, soon.