Obamateurism of the Day

Yesterday’s OOTD showed how Barack Obama managed to contradict himself in his speech yesterday from the lecture he gave Republicans on decorum in debating entitlement reform. Today, we’ll focus on how Obama contradicted himself in the speech from … another part of the same speech.  And once again, Obama indulges in the very behavior he derides.  Near the beginning, Obama warns the audience to beware the flim-flam artists who insist that they can reduce spending by just focusing on waste and abuse:

So because all this spending is popular with both Republicans and Democrats alike, and because nobody wants to pay higher taxes, politicians are often eager to feed the impression that solving the problem is just a matter of eliminating waste and abuse – you’ll hear that phrase a lot. “We just need to eliminate waste and abuse!” The implication is that that tackling the deficit issue won’t require tough choices.

Later, though, Obama promises to reduce the deficit by lowering the cost of health care.  How does he plan to do that?  Well …

Already, the reforms we passed in the health care law will reduce our deficit by $1 trillion. My approach would build on these reforms. We will reduce wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments. We will cut spending on prescription drugs by using Medicare’s purchasing power to drive greater efficiency and speed generic brands of medicine onto the market. We will work with governors of both parties to demand more efficiency and accountability from Medicaid. We will change the way we pay for health care – not by procedure or the number of days spent in a hospital, but with new incentives for doctors and hospitals to prevent injuries and improve results. And we will slow the growth of Medicare costs by strengthening an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers who will look at all the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access to the services seniors need.

In other words, the entire effort on reducing health-care costs focus on waste, precisely the kind of argument Obama derided in the same speech.  He didn’t even bother to consult a thesaurus to use a different term for it.  Nor was health care the only area for promised reductions of this type:

Over the last two years, Secretary Gates has courageously taken on wasteful spending, saving $400 billion in current and future spending. I believe we can do that again. We need to not only eliminate waste and improve efficiency and effectiveness, but conduct a fundamental review of America’s missions, capabilities, and our role in a changing world.

Here’s a hint for the President and his speechwriters: if you plan on giving a lecture on how not to argue in the first half of a speech, don’t adopt the very tactic that was just derided in the same speech.  Or at least crack a dictionary and find a synonym.

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!