President Obama’s weekly address yesterday took up the subject of Obamacare. The White House has posted the text of Obama’s address here.
According to Obama, we are on the way to implementing Obamacare fully and helping millions of Americans. He means to give it to us good and hard.
In Obama’s telling, “a group of Republicans in Congress are working [sic] to confuse people and even suggesting they will shut down the government if they cannot shut down the health care law.” Obama actually says that health insurance isn’t something to play politics with — it’s a right, like the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, right there in the Declaration of Independence — and he intends to keep “working” to make sure the law works as it’s supposed to.
Unfortunately, Obama’s “work” has necessarily included the repeated exercise of his handy royal prerogative to rewrite a law that is otherwise graven in stone in order to make sure it “works.” Obama, you might say, is the hardest working man in demagogy.
As to the assertion of health care as a right, Obama is simply reiterating one of the key assertions of his second inaugural address, which was in turn reiterating the Second Bill of Rights framed by Franklin Roosevelt in his 1944 State of the Union Address. It is the doctrine of welfare state liberalism come to take the place of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Please see my post “Obama’s living Declaration,” where I wrote about this at length.
What is really of note here is the malice underlying Obama’s attack on Republicans who are not with the program which, Obama to the contrary notwithstanding, is pretty much all congressional Republicans (rather than some peculiar subset). Here is Obama’s description of the doings of this nefarious group of Republicans:
They’re actually having a debate between hurting Americans who will no longer be denied affordable care just because they’ve been sick – and harming the economy and millions of Americans in the process. And many Republicans are more concerned with how badly this debate will hurt them politically than they are with how badly it’ll hurt the country.
A lot of Republicans seem to believe that if they can gum up the works and make this law fail, they’ll somehow be sticking it to me. But they’d just be sticking it to you.
Some even say that if you call their office with questions about the law, they’ll refuse to help. Call me old-fashioned – but that’s lousy constituent service. And it’s not what you deserve.
Your health insurance isn’t something to play politics with. Our economy isn’t something to play politics with. This isn’t a game. This is about the economic security of millions of families.
Obama has spoken. Obamacare is an unmitigated good. Opposition to Obamacare is illegitimate. So get on board, you faithless heathens. Our ruler has spoken.