Obama presser: What was the point?

posted at 8:47 am on July 23, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

When a president calls a prime-time press conference, it traditionally means that the White House has some new strategy, message, or policy creation that they want to reveal with a big flourish.  For at least the second time in a row, Barack Obama demanded valuable prime-time real estate and the nation’s attention in order to repeat the same lines he’s used for the last two months on health care.  Obama failed to present a single new idea, proposal, or even argument that had not already been floated from Obama himself and the White House in the full-court press over the last 10 days in Obama’s media appearances.

Well, except for the new notion of predatory tonsillectomies.  Let me tell you a story about tonsillectomies.  My son could not get one for over four years because the HMO that covered him didn’t want to spend the money.  Only when we transferred him to my insurance could we get a pediatrician who would do it (who happened to be his original pediatrician) — and who pronounced the other doctors as idiots for letting them go that long.  Fortunately, I could choose insurance plans and doctors.  The incentives are set up against tonsillectomies, not favoring them, mainly because a few experts decided a few decades ago that they were generally unnecessary.

In ObamaCare, those experts will be in charge of all doctors.

Howard Kurtz remarked on Twitter immediately after the conclusion that Obama once again failed to have a consistent and understandable message in the presser.  It went farther than that, though; Obama not only failed to have a message, he also failed to answer most of the questions.  He talked endlessly after being asked them, a strategy obviously designed to cut down on questions through filibustering, but he didn’t answer the questions.

When he talked at length, though, he made some pretty interesting mistakes, such as this:

The one commitment that I’ve been clear about is I don’t want that final one-third of the cost of health care to be completely shouldered on the backs of middle class families who are already struggling in a difficult economy.

And so, if I see a proposal that is primarily funded through taxing middle class families, I’m going to be opposed to that because I think there are better ideas to do it.

Actually, until that statement, Obama had clearly told the middle class that their taxes would go down, not up.  Now he’s saying that he won’t support a system primarily funded by the middle class, which seems to imply that he won’t mind one that taxes the middle class to provide some of the funding.  And Obama wouldn’t even commit to a veto — just that he would “be opposed to that” approach.

And while we’re chewing over the weird attack on doctors as greedy vultures who prey on the throats of innocent little children, let’s not forget the odd, resurrected references to two organizations opposed to ObamaCare:

Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that’s out there. So if they’re looking and you come in and you’ve got a bad sore throat or your child has a bad sore throat or has repeated sore throats, the doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, “You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid’s tonsils out.”

Now, that may be the right thing to do, but I’d rather have that doctor making those decisions just based on whether you really need your kid’s tonsils out or whether it might make more sense just to change — maybe they have allergies. Maybe they have something else that would make a difference.

So — so part of what we want do is to free doctors, patients, hospitals to make decisions based on what’s best for patient care. And that’s the whole idea behind Mayo. That’s the whole idea behind the Cleveland Clinic.

Except both the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic oppose ObamaCare.  Mayo’s statement made headlines; surely someone mentioned this to the President?

Finally, let’s look at the press last night.  They only got a few bites at the apple thanks to Obama’s filibusters, but overall did a little better than I’d expected.  Most of the questions were challenging in some degree, except for Lynn Sweet’s inexplicable desire to get Obama to talk about the Henry Gates incident, and Obama’s inexplicable desire to opine without the facts as he himself admitted.  (Jules Crittenden has a useful post about this today.)  However, I also notice that not one reporter asked Obama why he postponed issuing the budget numbers for a month in the middle of this debate, which is directly related to the health-care issue.  I’d call that a big-time fail for the White House press corps, which supposedly exists to ensure accountability.

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Remember Rodney King, the black man who can not be arrested?

That’s the goal here with this Gates story; ‘people of color’ immune from arrest because of their skin color.

Skandia Recluse on July 23, 2009 at 11:24 AM

That is certainly what Gates was hoping for.

Gates – that moron – got what he deserved. If he had just tried to cooperate with the officer instead of immediately screaming racism and shouting “You don’t know who you’re messing with!”, I doubt there would have been an incident at all.

Hey, Gates: no one is above the law, and THAT INCLUDES YOU. You decide to commit disorderly conduct, you face the consequences. Try acting like a real man the next time.

OneVision on July 23, 2009 at 12:42 PM

The point is that because health care is a right (and food isn’t??? at least not yet…), nobody should dare make a profit (gasp) while providing health care services.

When food becomes a right, food retailing will have an equally ugly stigma attached to it. Imagine, making a profit from food. Disgraceful.

shaken on July 23, 2009 at 12:44 PM

Can last night be officially refered to as Tonsilgate?

Upstater85 on July 23, 2009 at 12:47 PM

Can last night be officially refered to as Tonsilgate?

Upstater85 on July 23, 2009 at 12:47 PM

huh? I thought that was during the Clinton administration?

BPD on July 23, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Rush made a great point. Pediatricians go into that field because they care about children, not to take advantage of them. In fact, he’s still talking about this. Rush is right. Barry’s accusations are beneath contempt.

kingsjester on July 23, 2009 at 12:53 PM

Obama clearly demonstrated that he’s never been involved in the medical care of his kids. Any father worth his salt knows that the pediatrician who treats the child doesn’t also do the tonsillectomy. Moreover, the pediatrician who makes the referral for a tonsillectomy doesn’t get any kick back from the surgeon for any services rendered. What a perverted mutation of the truth–proof positive that this guy is no medical physician, nurse, administrator, pharmacist, nor care giver—other than that he’s a heck of a medical provider.

ted c on July 23, 2009 at 12:57 PM

huh? I thought that was during the Clinton administration?

BPD on July 23, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Fine Tonsilgate II

Upstater85 on July 23, 2009 at 12:58 PM

Rush made a great point. Pediatricians go into that field because they care about children, not to take advantage of them. In fact, he’s still talking about this. Rush is right. Barry’s accusations are beneath contempt.

kingsjester on July 23, 2009 at 12:53 PM



BTW, Barry’s definition of a pediatrician is an abortionist…

Upstater85 on July 23, 2009 at 1:01 PM

Dr. B. Throckmorton Obama is hungry again today… Rush is eating his lunch big time, two days in a row…

ted c on July 23, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Ogabe did himself a lot of damage last night.

No one is going to remember his weak sales job for socialized medicine. Nothing new there.

But lots of people are going to remember his deranged attacks on the integrity of doctors and the intelligence and professionalism of police officers.

My guess is that a lot of moderates were appalled.

It will be interesting to see the spin coming from Axelrod. And I bet he stops doing press conferences for awhile; he’s only safe from himself when he’s got TOTUS on his side.

guntotinglibertarian on July 23, 2009 at 1:06 PM

This is real simple – Duh Won is being set up to leave office before the end of the year.

If you assume that he was merely a prop for a political machine, then everything that has happened up to this point fits right in. The Axelrod/Plouffe/Rahmbo gang set this up so that Duh Won would go too far. Then when he quits, they can spin it that even they were fooled but they saved the day.

This is about stopping Sarah and the Tea Parties before they can join up and get off the ground. The combination is set to sweep the country into the Second Era of Reagan in the 2010 elections.

A/P/R know that she can kill the Demon-craps for at least a generation. This is part of their pre-emptive strategy and it will work UNLESS we keep our frustration levels high.

platypus on July 23, 2009 at 1:06 PM

“…Indeed, it is a sign of marked political weakness in any commonwealth if the people tend to be carried away by mere oratory, if they tend to value words in and for themselves, as divorced from the deeds for which they are supposed to stand. The phrase-maker, the phrase-monger, the ready talker, however great his power, whose speech does not make for courage, sobriety, and right understanding, is simply a noxious element in the body politic, and it speaks ill for the public if he has influence over them. To admire the gift of oratory without regard to the moral quality behind the gift is to do wrong to the republic. – Teddy Roosevelt

I am so pissed at the morons who voted for this bastard.

atheling on July 23, 2009 at 1:09 PM

I think the One leaves office before Jan 1st too.
I really do. Last night was such a fiasco that there is no way his egoness can take much more.
He is unhinged.

ORconservative on July 23, 2009 at 1:16 PM

I remember seeing a poll that ranked professions according to how much the general public trusted professions. Doctors were right up there with military officers as far as how much Americans trusted them. Are there bad apples in the legion of doctors across this country? Yes, I’ve also seen bad military officers. My point is that doctors by and large are very intelligent, moral-bound individuals who know what their obligations are to their patients. Just like officers take their oath to “serve and protect the Constitution”, doctors do with their Hippocratic oath to “do no harm”. I think Obama is messing with fire by demonizing doctors and making the case that if and only if the government can act as big brother to your doctor, then they can assure you will get quality medical care. That is a huge insult to doctors everywhere. If we cant trust those who serve and protect us, who can we trust?

Rightwingguy on July 23, 2009 at 1:19 PM

Obama thoroughly believes that he knows what is best. He also thoroughly believes that everyone is like him with selfish motives.
The American people will not put up with this much longer.

ORconservative on July 23, 2009 at 1:22 PM

Why, the point was to show off his wonderful new clothes.

What do you mean you couldn’t see them?

Jim Treacher on July 23, 2009 at 1:30 PM

It is absurd to think 99.99% of peditricians would even consider performing an unnecessary surgery on a child. Apart from the ethics, from a business standpoint, why would a doctor risk putting a child under anathesia and performing surgery for no reason, when if something goes wrong the doctor is looking at multi-million dollar lawsuit? A jury would break a calculator coming up with an award in such a case.

Lou Budvis on July 23, 2009 at 1:38 PM

Why, the point was to show off his wonderful new clothes.

What do you mean you couldn’t see them?

Jim Treacher on July 23, 2009 at 1:30 PM

Well, I thought it was part of that whole transparency thing.

platypus on July 23, 2009 at 1:42 PM

I think I get it now…every time Obama says ‘let me be clear….’ or ‘make no mistake….,’ he’s voicing a prayer that has always gone unanswered.

James on July 23, 2009 at 2:07 PM

Lou Budvis on July 23, 2009 at 1:38 PM


I’d guess the point was to step on his own weenie. He threw cops responding to 911 calls and doctors under the bus. I’m not sure that was a great idea.

funky chicken on July 23, 2009 at 2:28 PM

What’s the point?

The same one as always.
Obama has been told since he was young, how brilliant and well spoken he is. He as come to believe it.

Now he actually believes that all he has to do is get on live tv, get the entire nation watching him, and the brilliance of his words will sway everyone over to his side.

MarkTheGreat on July 23, 2009 at 2:30 PM

funky chicken on July 23, 2009 at 2:28 PM

Then it will be the clergy and the military. Pelosi has already thrown the CIA under the bus.

Those d4mn people who help and serve society! They sure have some nerve! (/sarc)

Rightwingguy on July 23, 2009 at 3:52 PM

BPD on July 23, 2009 at 12:51 PM

LMFAO You funny!!

stacy on July 23, 2009 at 3:58 PM

Those of you who think (wishful thinking) that Obama will leave office soon, think again.

Even as Obama stumbles forward with one America-wrecking initiative after another, don’t forget he was bought and paid for to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars by those in the Soros wing of contemporary political ideology.

Obama’s kingmakers want him to stay where he is, in order to continue to do their bidding since after all, they paid for it. And the more he stumbles, the more he will urgently solicit their approval and accede to their requirements of him.

Edouard on July 23, 2009 at 4:29 PM

The one czar on the campaign trail he promised was for autism. He has yet to make such an appointment. ObamACORNcare does nothing for the disabled. If we though the lines were long now, just wait till we’re in line behind everyone in the nation plus their illegal gardener too.

But as Mark Levin is pointing out to me right now, the point of the health care presser last night was for America to watch a grown man wail like a baby on TV in HD commercial free. But then really, how is America to know that the evil white man is keeping Obambi’s unicorn down unless he praises socialist values?

FeFe on July 23, 2009 at 7:11 PM

LOL. “Needs more pillars.” Some one like Rush should use that.

Marcus on July 23, 2009 at 9:32 AM

“I’ve got a fever, and the only cure is more pillars?”

ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on July 24, 2009 at 1:01 AM

“What was the point?” The point wasn’t to get Republican support. He immediately labeled all Republican opposition as partisan and opportunistic, as if government confiscating 1/6th of the economy was completely non-controversial.

Indeed, the point was to stir up partisanship–Democratic partisanship. You know; like Bush was always accused of doing. He hoped to push wavering Democrats into supporting it by baiting Republicans. And quickly, before the stench becomes to obvious to ignore.

Fortunately, some of those law-makers hope to keep their jobs and won’t be stampeded. This is anti-leadership from a Reagan-in-reverse.

Noel on July 24, 2009 at 1:55 AM

It’s all about the O!

Cybergeezer on July 24, 2009 at 9:07 AM

How highs the water Baama?,
Its 6 ft high and rising!..

the love quest with the MSM and the press along with the planted questions and the stupidity have all backfired!

Sing it again Johnny;

How highs the water Baama?,
It 6 ft high and rising!

Hey Axelhead and Fishhead, how you like them polls?

bluegrass on July 24, 2009 at 9:17 AM