Obamateurism of the Day

Sometimes, when a speaker tries telling a story to illuminate a point they want to make, they end up illuminating themselves more than any moral of their tale. Barack Obama fell into that trap yesterday during the health-care summit when he tried to argue that some insurance policies are not equal. As if that wasn’t obvious enough, President Obama then made it clear that he doesn’t get it at all. Greg Hengler captures the moment for Townhall:

When I was young, just got out of college, I had to buy auto insurance. I had a beat-up old car. And I won’t name the name of the insurance company, but there was a company — let’s call it Acme Insurance in Illinois. And I was paying my premiums every month. After about six months I got rear-ended and I called up Acme and said, I’d like to see if I can get my car repaired, and they laughed at me over the phone because really this was set up not to actually provide insurance; what it was set up was to meet the legal requirements. But it really wasn’t serious insurance.

Now, it’s one thing if you’ve got an old beat-up car that you can’t get fixed. It’s another thing if your kid is sick, or you’ve got breast cancer.

Why would they have laughed at a Harvard graduate who tried to file a claim? Because Obama hadn’t bought collision insurance.  The only insurance drivers in most states have to carry is liability insurance, to cover damage they do to the cars of other drivers.  Obama explained in this clip that he only bought the legal minimum, not collision or comprehensive, which would have covered his damage.  When people buy insurance, it’s made very clear exactly what it covers.  Most drivers can understand it … even the Harvard Law grads.  That may have been why “Acme” laughed when Obama attempted to file a collision claim when he hadn’t bothered to buy that policy.

One more point: a rear-end collision is almost universally presumed to be the fault of the driver who hits the rear end of the other.  Obama should have been calling that driver’s insurance company … if this actually ever happened at all.

If this anecdote proves anything, it’s that Obama never learned a thing about insurance — hardly the man we’d want to have remaking the entire health-insurance sector.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] 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.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!

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