Obamateurism of the Day

posted at 8:05 am on August 17, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

I left this one out of last week’s Obamateurisms, and Jim Treacher demands justice — so consider this a belated recognition of a classic fumble by Barack Obama. In his appearance at a “greenhouse” in support of his overhaul of the American health-care system, Obama tried to assure Americans that a government system could compete with private health insurers and not drive them out of business. However, the one example he could use will not put anyone’s mind at ease who worries about competence and efficiency:

Now, the only thing that I have said is that having a public option in that menu would provide competition for insurance companies to keep them honest.

Now, I recognize, though, you make a legitimate — you raise a legitimate concern. People say, well, how can a private company compete against the government? And my answer is that if the private insurance companies are providing a good bargain, and if the public option has to be self-sustaining — meaning taxpayers aren’t subsidizing it, but it has to run on charging premiums and providing good services and a good network of doctors, just like any other private insurer would do — then I think private insurers should be able to compete. They do it all the time. (Applause.)

I mean, if you think about — if you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? No, they are. It’s the Post Office that’s always having problems. (Laughter.)

Seriously? Obama wants to reassure us that the government can handle health care by using the Post Office as an example? Oh,that will certainly impress anyone who’s had to wait in line for service at the Post Office.  Just think this: Dr. Cliff Clavin.

And even putting aside the jokes, the comparison shows just about everything that’s wrong with having government operate at all in the private sector.  The only reason the USPS remains in business is because it has a monopoly on first-class mail.  It routinely runs in the red and has to rely on its government mandate to stay in business.  The reason UPS and FedEx can remain in business against it is because even with the subsidy of its first-class mail monopoly, it can’t operate efficiently enough to bury parcel competition.

Right now, the Post Office is contemplating a greater rationing of its services in order to save money, specifically by reducing delivery days from six to five and closing a significant number of its locations.  Pay attention, because ObamaCare will do the same thing when it also costs a lot more money than predicted.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at obamaisms@edmorrissey.com with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Addendum: I have been running a reminder of Chris Muir’s fundraising drive for his Day by Day site here — Chris does the illustrations for the Obamateurism series — and today I can announce that Chris made his goal for the next year.  Thanks for all your help in keeping Chris and his insight in the fight for us!


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From the New York Post:

“William Henderson, the US postmaster general from 1998 to 2001, wrote upon leaving that ‘what the Postal Service needs now is nothing short of privatization.’

Barb Dwyer on August 17, 2009 at 11:04 AM

I agree people are angry and getting angrier. However I was speaking of the here and now not about the what may come. Right now it is not a civil war. It is just the people expressing their opinions to their elected representatives. What these representatives do will determine the next phase. I will say that in all my years I have never seen such discontent displayed by such a majority of citizens. This coming from someone who reached adulthood in the early 60′s. This is not a bunch of radical long haired hippys taking over some college dormitory and declaring revolution. This is the silent majority waking up and becoming not so silent anymore. Right now we are overcoming inertia and putting ourselves into motion. What’s next? Time will tell.

Oldnuke on August 17, 2009 at 11:11 AM

And my answer is that if the private insurance companies are providing a good bargain, and if the public option has to be self-sustaining — meaning taxpayers aren’t subsidizing it, but it has to run on charging premiums and providing good services and a good network of doctors, just like any other private insurer would do — then I think private insurers should be able to compete. They do it all the time. (Applause.)

I mean, if you think about — if you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? No, they are. It’s the Post Office that’s always having problems. (Laughter.)

So in Breath One he believes in a non-taxpayer-subsidized system. In Breath Two he points to a government-run operation that is a failure with SCADS of taxpayer funds floating it.

What a dope. What a maroon.

Patrick S on August 17, 2009 at 11:26 AM

The Prez & company are used to dealing with the blind faithful. The idiots that will vote for anyone they are told to.The MSM who are kissing his butt. The congressman and senators who don’t need to read the bill..It was ok when he tries to push his environmental bs. But Healthcare?That’s personal. And then to compare it to the USPS!!!Stamps going up in price every couple of months, lost and delayed mail, damaged magazines…

DOH.

conservativegrandma on August 17, 2009 at 11:29 AM

This is not a bunch of radical long haired hippys taking over some college dormitory and declaring revolution. This is the silent majority waking up and becoming not so silent anymore. Right now we are overcoming inertia and putting ourselves into motion. What’s next? Time will tell.

Oldnuke on August 17, 2009 at 11:11 AM

As a student of history, I would suggest that long haired radical types like the terrorist Bill Ayers or John Kerry did not affect the anti-war movement as much as when solid middle class Americans started protesting against the war.

I see the same thing happening here. Despite the state-run media’s attempt to paint anybody who exercises their First Amendment rights as a crazy fringe element, the fact of the matter is that the American public is pissed off and it just isn’t about healthcare but by a myriad of reasons whose one commonality is the fact that they were done without heeding the concerns of the public. Well, the public is beginning to fight back.

I happen to think that we are indeed at the beginning of a civil war of sorts. It is analogous to the unrest of the Townshend acts almost a decade before the Declaration of Independence was signed. In both the Townshend Acts and the run on healthcare the goal is the same. The state seizing economic control and political power from the people. Keep in mind, if successful, HR3200 would essentially put the Executive Branch in charge of life or death matters by a cadre of unelected officials working directly for the President. If that isn’t worthy of civil war, I do not know what would be.

We have not yet reached the tipping point but the indicators are clear. The public is fighting for their freedoms and they are forced to fight the very people they elected to remain free. Forcing through some version of HR3200 is tantamount with the government declaring war on the American people. So, technically we are not yet at war but it is time to start mustering the minutemen on the village greens to prepare for the inevitable skirmishes to come.

“Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”
Captain John Parker, Lexington Green, April 19, 1775

highhopes on August 17, 2009 at 11:36 AM

My 11:11 am post was a reply to

Barb Dwyer on August 17, 2009 at 9:41 AM

Apparently I’m either having a senior moment or am caffeine deficient.

Oldnuke on August 17, 2009 at 11:36 AM

highhopes on August 17, 2009 at 11:36 AM

I’m pretty sure we’re saying about the same thing with some minor points of disagreement. At least I didn’t see anything in your post that I’d get my panties in a bunch about. We could probably have a long civil discussion about the 60s radical movement vs main stream America but other than that we are pretty much in agreement. I am a firm believer in the old concept that no government is more than three days from revolution.

The state run media are doing the same thing now that they did back in the day. Now, however, we have many sources of information that they do not control and fewer people are listening to them. Their power over us is diminished and more folk are breaking free every day.

Whether or not it comes to actual civil war only time will tell. The Minute Men are already gathering on the greens. We see them every day in tea parties and at town hall meetings. Whenever our cowardly representatives can muster up enough courage to actually show up and face their constituents.

Oldnuke on August 17, 2009 at 11:49 AM

“William Henderson, the US postmaster general from 1998 to 2001, wrote upon leaving that ‘what the Postal Service needs now is nothing short of privatization.’“

Barb Dwyer on August 17, 2009 at 11:04 AM

I’d think that partial privatization is really more what is realistic. Think about it. If full privatization, no more monopoly on first class mail. At a minimum, the feds would have to open it up to competitive bid with FEDEX and UPS getting the opportunity to take over mail delivery.

Perhaps privatization isn’t required so much as radical reorganization and re-thinking. The scanners and other technology used these days does not hide the fact that mail delivery is essentially done the same way it has been done for centuries. It is time to decide what is necessary out of the postal service. What functions they should be doing and how they do them. Does six-days of delivery make sense in an era where most people correspond and pay bills on-line? Does delivery to homes make sense in lieu of PO boxes in centrally located parts of a community. And don’t even let me get started on the bloated bureaucratic structure.

highhopes on August 17, 2009 at 11:49 AM

“It is just the people expressing their opinions to their elected representatives.”

Oldnuke on August 17, 2009 at 11:11 AM

One of the problems is that we can’t find our elected representatives, they’re hiding from us. The Reps in my area are holding “round table, invitation only meetings.”

From what I’ve seen, the few that have come out apparently haven’t read the bill and can’t or won’t debate it. They simply take questions without responding before moving along to take the next question. Keith Ellison is a perfect example. Arlen Specter actually seems surprised to find out what’s in the bill. He says he won’t vote for it if it contains one or another thing that people bring up at his town hall meetings. But who can trust him? He can’t make up his mind if he’s a Democrat or a Republican. Shelia Jackson-Lee would rather talk on her cell phone. Our Reps are ignoring us. Most will vote their party line regardless of what their constituents want, and they will ramrod all of Barry’s plans to “change” our Republic. This does not bode well unless we can take back both the House and the Senate in 2010.

Barb Dwyer on August 17, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Highhopes:

I’m not advocating privatization of USPS. My mail is delivered in a timely fashion (although it would be great if the 40 pounds of junk mail could be eliminated), and I have stamps.com.

Barb Dwyer on August 17, 2009 at 12:25 PM

Barb Dwyer on August 17, 2009 at 12:25 PM

Let the Post Office deliver First-class and official mail.

Let those who know how deliver packages and parcels.

(And round up and send to Gitmo those folks who send those several pounds a week of flyers and printed garbage that fills my mail box daily.)

The USPS (among other screw-ups) has lost tons of money by giving flyers and “occupant/resident” mailers a super discounted bulk-rate…a huge portion of mail passing through postal stations daily.

As for packages and parcels…they are late to the new game. Fedex and UPS undercut the USPS by building a whole new business model right in front of them. Now the USPS is advertising every hour, every day, in every teleiviosn market trying to get former patrons/customers to go back to an inefficient expensive system.

[BTW, did you know that the Hope Diamond that rests in the Smithsonian was delivered from NYC to Washington by mail?]

Wouldn’t trust the present-day USPS to do that, now, would ya?

coldwarrior on August 17, 2009 at 12:39 PM

What a dope. What a maroon.

Patrick S on August 17, 2009 at 11:26 AM

Apologies to dopes and morons

Schadenfreude on August 17, 2009 at 12:42 PM

When a doctor in the USPS (U.S. Physicians Service) goes nuts, it will be known as “goin’ scalpel.”

Jim Treacher on August 17, 2009 at 12:42 PM

Why does he always look like he is narrating an infomercial?

Talk about lowering the bar on the dignity of the Oval Office.

Hugh G. Rection on August 17, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Here’s the latest ObamaBerry Birthday card…
http://www.chuckleberrys.com/cb106-barack-obama-card.htm

Curtoons on August 17, 2009 at 1:08 PM

And don’t relent in putting pressure on Congress. Howard Dean came out and said this morning that the final bill would have a public option included. The talk about dropping it is nothing more than a tactic to get it out of the Senate. Plan and act accordingly.

highhopes on August 17, 2009 at 8:10 AM

EXACTLY! They’re now switching terms used to replace the old terms rejected by many Americans. So today we hear “co-operative” or “co-op” for “healthcare” that is just the Left dredging up a new term for the same old ideas they’ve always been trying.

Don’t fall for this. The Left cannot be trusted with the nation’s healthcare, and socialized medicine needs to be an issue utterly and completely stopped, otherwise the Left will continue to repackage the same plans/ideas under various labels.

Today it’s “co-operatives” and this Fall it’ll be something else but the point is, the contents have not changed. Senator Schumer continues to declare that with a co-op, for example, that the government “must/has to” be the appointer of the governing board, thus sinking any hapless consumer’s expectations that there’ll be some sort of “nice community organizers” directing who gets what from whom at what cost.

Lourdes on August 17, 2009 at 1:23 PM

Why does he always look like he is narrating an infomercial?

Hugh G. Rection on August 17, 2009 at 12:51 PM

But wait!! There’s more!!

coldwarrior on August 17, 2009 at 1:28 PM

This was, by far, the biggest Obamateurism of the week last week. How could it not have been included?

Anyhow, it’s going to be this week’s winner.

Or is it???

RedNewEnglander on August 17, 2009 at 1:40 PM

Why does he always look like he is narrating an infomercial?
Hugh G. Rection on August 17, 2009 at 12:51 PM

But wait…if you call right now, you get Obamacare, Cap&Tax, Card Check, Fairness Doctrine and if you say the phrase, “I worship Obama” we will throw in Amnesty for Illegal Aliens — all for only $50 trillion!

Christian Conservative on August 17, 2009 at 2:53 PM

Speaking of the old bait and switch, hasn’t Harry “Creaky” Reid also equated the public option with co-ops, at least as far as achieving the same goal?

“We’re going to have some type of public option, call it ‘co-op’, call it what you want,” Reid said, adding that Democrats are working on “some verison of a co-op that may satisfy everyone.”

mikeyz on August 17, 2009 at 3:11 PM

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