This week, we learned, via a fantastic article over at Politico that a few weeks before he decided to run for President in 2008, Barack Obama didn't have a formal plan on Health Care. It was an idea that was hastily concieved to make him appear that he was more competent as a candidate than he really was:
The most important red line of Barack Obama’s presidency was scrawled hastily in January 2007, a few weeks before he even announced he was running for president.
Soon-to-be-candidate Obama, then an Illinois senator, was thinking about turning down an invitation to speak at a big health care conference sponsored by the progressive group Families USA, when two aides, Robert Gibbs and Jon Favreau, hit on an idea that would make him appear more prepared and committed than he actually was at the moment.
Why not just announce his intention to pass universal health care by the end of his first term?
Thus was born Obamacare, a check-the-box, news-cycle expedient that would ultimately define a president.
“We needed something to say,” recalled one of the advisers involved in the discussion. “I can’t tell you how little thought was given to that thought other than it sounded good. So they just kind of hatched it on their own. It just happened. It wasn’t like a deep strategic conversation.”
This is not surprising given Obama's own admission that he wasn't ready to run for President. Remember this interview from CNN?
It is mindboggling to me that we have a man who openly admits that he was not experienced enough to become President and yet he later decides to run for President despite that statement and we find out that Obama wanted people to believe that he had a formal plan on Health Care when he really didn't have one.
Moreover, we also learn that not only was Obama dishonest about claiming he had a ambitious health care plan, but that his dishonesty was the result of desperation to do anything to win in 2008. (Doesn't that sound familiar for 2012?) Additionally, the inexperienced Obama knew he was out of his league on the issue of health care and that he wasn't even enthusiastic about his own hastily hatched plan:
Obama’s legacy on health care began with the pressure to say something, anything, at the progressive health conference a year before the first presidential primary votes were cast. He needed to keep up with Clinton, his party’s front-runner, and Edwards, who was trying to carve out space to Clinton’s left as the party’s liberal standard-bearer.
Favreau, who would go on to become the chief White House speechwriter, said Obama wanted “to say something bold and ambitious about health care.”
“He had previously talked about how every year and every election we keep talking about health care and nothing ever happens,” Favreau said. “So we came up with that promise, really one of the first.”
The candidate jumped at it. He probably wasn’t going to get elected anyway, the team concluded. Why not go big?
“In the 2008 campaign, affordable, universal health care for every single American must not be a question of whether, it must be a question of how,” Obama said at the Families USA conference. “We have the ideas, we have the resources, and we must find the will to pass a plan by the end of the next president’s first term.”
Even after his pledge, though, it took months for Obama to buy in.
In March 2007, he found himself on the same stage with a highly confident Clinton at another health care forum, this one sponsored by the Service Employees International Union in Las Vegas.
Obama staggered through a discussion that left policy wonks convinced that he was out of his league, particularly when compared to Clinton, arguably the nation’s premier expert on health care after her unsuccessful attempt to enact reform in the 1990s.
While she dominated, he was confronted by an audience member who asked why he didn’t have a health care plan yet. He responded that his campaign was only eight weeks old and promised to come up with one soon. At one point, in response to a question about health care disparities among minorities, Obama talked about lead poisoning as Clinton aides giggled.
Obama knew before he walked off the stage that he had screwed up.
Obama had successfully deceived the Democratic party in to believing that he was more competent than Hillary Clinton on the issue of health care by attacking her for supporting the individual mandate even though he secretly was telling other people that he did support the individual mandate and that it would most likely be a part of his plan. Here's Politico describing how Obama was lying to Democratic voters:
At the advice of his political advisers, Obama sought to undercut Clinton by accusing her of pushing for an individual mandate — an idea borrowed from Republicans that polled poorly with independents and conservative Democrats in critical battlegrounds like Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Aides say Obama was simply looking for any way to differentiate himself from an opponent whose basic policy positions were indistinguishable from his own. After Clinton dropped out in June 2008, Obama was privately telling his staff that any health care reform he proposed would most likely include a mandate.
Watch this clip below of Obama attacking Hillary Clinton on the idea of the individual mandate:
While Obama was out lying to Democratic voters and later to the American people, it took months for Obama to buy into his own deceptive campaign promise. And when Obama was able to push ObamaCare through Congress through a procedural loophole despite massive public opposition the Affordable Care Act, the central idea of his plan was the individual mandate. Thus, not only did Obama lie to the American people, but he flipped flopped on the issue of he individual mandate.
Four years later in the 2012 Presidential election, Obama would use ObamaCare as both a sword and a shield against Republican challenger Mitt Romney by falsely claiming that he used RomneyCare as a template for his healthcare plan since Romney's health care plan contained the individual mandate despite the fact that Obama was lying and flip flopping on that idea back in 2008. Once Obama was reelected in 2012, he would go on to use to U.S. government attorneys defend the individual mandate that he criticized and lied about when he was a candidate in 2008.
But back to the Politico's central theme that ObamaCare was born in attempt to make Senator Obama look more competent than he really was. Supporters of ObamaCare claim that it was a well thought out plan. Now we know that it wasn't. Nancy Pelosi was being truthful when she said that we had to pass ObamaCare in order to find out what was in it. What do we find out? We find out that that a bunch of inexperienced twenty something year old Congressional interns wrote it which contained the individual mandate that Obama flipped flopped on. I don't think the Democratic Congress and their interns who wrote the bill even studied RomenyCare closely at all. We also learn that it contained a tax even though Obama would flip flop on that saying there was a tax and there wasn't a tax.
In other words, the legislation didn't come from the White House but Congress. Essentially, Obama let Congress create, draft and pass the bill. All he had to do was sign it. I don't think ObamaCare was really Obama's idea. He was never really enthusiastic about a healthcare plan and it took months for him to buy into the lie he sold to the American people. As you may or may not remember, it was Obama and the Democratic party who wanted a single payer health care program prior to the passage of ObamaCare. But in the end, and if you read the entire Politico article, you'll find that he just wanted his aides and advisors to be able to sell whatever plan someone came up with to the American people.
Ultimately, the biggest deception is that ObamaCare is a designed to pave the way for the eventual implementation of a single payer health care plan. Obama may not have initially had any health care plan when he made that decision to run in 2008. However, Obama has always wanted a bigger and more intrusive government. The intent of ObamaCare was to grow the size of the goverment. Listen to Obama's intent behind his health care plan in his interview with John Stewart on the Daily Show. If you don't want to watch the entire thing, go to approximately the 8 minute mark and listen. Watch the video below:
As the President stated himself in the John Stewart interview, the "change" in the nation's health care program was to simply make it a framework that will allow for future growth of the federal government. His example of Social Security is used to drive this point home. Social Security was initially sold as support for widows and orphanages but later the "structure" of this program blossomed into a massive entitlement program. He points out that the same is true for every progressive piece of legislation, which includes ObamaCare, in which it started out small but it was never intended to be small. It was designed to allow them to make further "progress" which is another way of saying expanding the government. The implication that Obama is making is that ObamaCare will eventually grow into a single payer program over time.
The birth, passage and fragile survival of ObamaCare is an excellent study in art of political deception. Politicians lie all the time. They make promises to the American people they don't intend to keep. Obama is no exception. The media portrayed Obama as an outsider who was different and above politics. The truth is, he wasn't and he still isn't.
Its not just ObamaCare that was a lie that was masterfully sold to the American people, it was his campaign. Even more fundamentally, Obama sold himself as a lie to the American people.
It is said that the the greatest lie the Devil told was to convince the world that he didn't exist. It may be that the greatest lie a politician can tell is to convince the people that he's more competent than he claims to be. Obama campaigned on a lie that he was ready to be president even when he fully admitted that he wasn't.
Now, Americans have endured almost eight years of an amateur president who has clearly shown himself to be incompetent on foreign affairs and domestic affairs. If Obama is competent at anything, he's a master at manipulating and deceiving the public into making him President and allowing him to pass a health care plan that was initially conceived as a campaign tactic to make him look more competent than he actually was.