At 8 PM EST tonight, I will be liveblogging Barack Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress. Make sure to head back over to RWN as you watch the address and comment on what BO has to say in the comments section.
Alternately, you can just skip the speech, watch me liveblog it, and miss “change, myths, lie, unity, some people say, lie, masked shot at the GOP, lie, let me be clear, lie” and then Chris Matthews intoning that this was one of the President’s best speeches yet.
2:59: Judging by the talking points, Obama looks like he’s going to try to shift the focus of the debate from the plan to those mean old Republicans who won’t go along with him. Do they want people to suffer? Is Sarah Palin a bad person?
If so, that’s a dumb strategy. If Obama has his own plan that he’s going to release with lots of details, that would be one thing. But, more of the same “everybody who says there is anything bad in this is lying, hurry up and pass it” nonsense isn’t going to do that much for them.
They’re the ones who want to swallow the health care system and start rationing care when the country thinks they should be focused on the economy and job loses. Given that, the country has, with good reason, very little faith in the government’s ability to handle something like this. “Trust us, it’s a good idea” isn’t going to get it done for them at this point.
8:01: I’ve seen an excerpt of this speech. From what I saw, this is NOT going to be helpful for him. It essentially looks like Obama refusing to address any of the serious concerns people have and imperiously demanding that this bill be passed because he says so. Course, it was just an excerpt. But, early reading — this was a mistake.
8:07: Because I am a masochist, I am watching this on MSNBC. According to Keith Olbermann, this is a massive stand against the corporations! Of course, many of the corporations are on board with this because they’ll get more customers.
8:09: Rachel Maddow — The protests were nuts. Keith: Nuts works, doesn’t it? I think Keith would know.
8:11: It’s Bo time!
8:12: Obama is such a performer. If Will Smith were playing the President, that’s how he would walk down the hall shaking hands.
8:13: John Boehner kissed Hillary on the cheek. My Gawd, the horror! And it was right after she gave Obama the big fake smile!
8:15: Okie-dokie — speech time!
8:16: A little too much enthusiastic clapping here. What has he done worth a standing ovation?
8:17: We were about to go into the Depression until I came into office. Now, I am pro-jobs. That’ll show all those anti-jobs lobbyists.
8:18: We have pulled the economy back from the brink. Ah…ok.
8:19: It has been a century since Roosevelt called for healthcare reform. Doesn’t sound like much of an emergency, does it?
8:21: We are the only nation that doesn’t have socialized medicine. We have the largest, most powerful economy in the world. Coincidence? Not at all.
8:22: When your pity cases for insurance are people who didn’t report conditions to their insurance companies, that’s not a good sign.
8:23: Obama is making a mistake here. He is trying to make the case that we need health care reform. Americans agree with that. They don’t like the Democrats’ plans.
8:24: Our health care problem is our deficit problem. Course, the Democrat program would increase the costs.
8:26: Why, his program isn’t radical! Not at all. That’s crazy talk!
8:27: Obama is using drug companies supporting his plan as a plus? That’s interesting. Heck of a switch around.
8:27: The time for bickering is over. Do as I say!
8:28: Health care will be secure. Everyone will have health care. It will be cheap!
8:29: Goody! Details!
8:30: Insurance companies can’t turn you down if you’re sick. They also can’t drop you if you lie about your coverage or place any kind of cap on how much coverage you get. He might as well be promising unicorns and faeries.
8:31: Routine check-ups will be covered. How dumb do people have to be to believe this?
8:32: There will be an insurance exchange like Congress has. Will Congress be participating? Uh…no.
8:33: The exchange will happen in 4 years? But, we will immediately give you low cost insurance if you get sick.
8:34: Some people will decide not to get covered. Some companies may decide not to cover their workers. Those companies are bad people!
8:35: Individuals will be required to carry health care. Businesses will have to pay more taxes. Most small businesses will be exempt (Sure, they will. Bwahahah)
8:36: There are significant details to be ironed out (Laughter). Ouch.
8:37: There’s a lot of misinformation out there. I would note that he gave no real details.
8:37: Why, there are no death panels! That’s crazy talk. Republicans aren’t applauding. Bwahahaha!
8:38: This reform won’t insure illegals. Someone shouted “lie!” Love it! Bam!
8:38: No $ will go to fund abortion. Not true either. Lying.
8:39: My guiding principle is there should be choice and competition. In 34 states, 75% of the market is at 5 or fewer companies. Course, we could allow insurance companies from different states to compete. Republicans have been suggesting that over and over. We don’t need a public option to do that.
8:41: Obama just wants reform. Oh, well, if he just wants reform, that must be all right then.
8:41: He wants a public option — “let me be clear” that means lie coming — only 5% of Americans would sign up for public option? Then how is it going to provide competition across the country? How could a government option compete with private companies if it had to genuinely compete? It’s not possible.
8:43: So, if the public option is such a small inconsequential thing, why is it so important to Obama and the Left? It’s tiny, it’s insignificant, only 5% of people will use it — BUT WE HAVE TO HAVE IT!
8:44: Again, I will not back down on the public option. How does that gel with the fact that it is going to barely be used?
8:45: How do we pay for this? I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits now or in the future. (These is no such plan on the table).
8:46: Go ahead and clap for deficits during the Bush years. We deserve that. But Obama, this biggest spender ever, won’t make that mistake.
8:47: We’re going to pay for much of this plan by cutting waste and abuse. Does anybody believe that? Anybody? If so, why haven’t we cut it already?
8:48: Oh well, if we create a commission, I’m sure that will fix the waste.
8:49: There are scary stories about how your Medicare will be cut! I will protect Medicare! Except, his plan expressly cuts Medicare spending. Deeply. Dramatically.
8:50: Is there anybody who believes Barack Obama’s commission is going to fix health care costs? This is like insulting. Not just to political junkies, but even to dumb people.
8:51: So, health care is essentially going to be “free.” They’re going to pay for it by cutting waste and by having insurance companies pay extra.
8:53: Obama likes the idea of tort reform. So, he’s going to study it or something.
8:54: We will pay for the plan with money ill spent in our system already.
8:54: This is a bipartisan plan and I will continue to seek common ground. My door is always open! Course, he hasn’t talked to House Republicans since April.
8:55: Look out for those special interests! We will fight back against the status quo!
8:55: Our system is not good now. We know this to be true. That is why we cannot fail to make things much worse with this plan.
8:57: Wait, I was looking away. Is he trying to exploit Ted Kennedy’s death to pitch this bomb of a health care plan? Ugh. What a terrible way to end this speech.
8:57: Did President Government just laud America’s skepticism of government? During a tribute to Ted Kennedy?
8:59: Ted Kennedy wasn’t a rigid ideologue! No, that’s crazy talk!
9:00: Ted could imagine what it was like for people without insurance. He felt for those people! Too bad he didn’t feel for women left to drown to death in a car.
9:00: Making a big spiel about how wonderful Social Security and Medicare are. Course, those are the two programs that are breaking us now. They’re also the ones that Obama says we need to fix.
9:01: The danger of too much government is matched by the government of too little. Actually, that’s not true at all.
9:02: Many Americans are skeptical. Why, it would be safe to kick the can down the road. I am courageous! I didn’t come here to fear the future. We can act! Change! Hope! We are the ones we’ve been waiting for!
Summary: My initial impression was that this speech is not going to be helpful to Obama. At best, I think it may give him a short, temporary burst. But, it was too generic, too much of the same old, same old. Much of it was laughable. We’re going to pay for the plan by cutting waste. Do it for Ted, blah, blah. Obama needed a game changer here. Although his delivery was good, it was tired rhetoric. Grade: D-
Update #1: I am hearing, but not knowing for sure, that Joe Wilson was the one who yelled “liar.” Not sure though. Someone mentioned Louie Gohmert as well. We should know soon.
PS: The stuff about the insurance companies was pure magical thinking. You can’t run an insurance industry when people can’t be denied coverage after they get sick and can’t be dropped if they lie about conditions. It’s not real world.
Update #2: I applaud Joe Wilson for yelling “you liar” at Barack Obama. Yes, it was rude, but Obama was lying through his teeth and he has been doing it for over a month. If that’s what it takes to draw attention to the fact when so much of the mainstream media simply refuses to report it, so be it. The Democrats, as a block, pulled those kind of shenanigans when Bush was President; so why should we get upset because one Republican told the God’s honest truth? I’m glad Joe Wilson had the courage to stand up and draw attention to what was going on.