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Obama's Speech Was Nothing New

If history is a guide, presidents who devote a joint session of Congress to a single domestic issue gain a bump. The drama of taking the center stage of American politics increases both attention and support. President Carter’s 1977 energy speech resulted in a nine-point rise in the percentage of Americans who thought the nation had a serious energy problem. After President Clinton delivered his health care joint session in 1993, 79 percent of Americans agreed that the health care system needed fundamental changes or should be “completely rebuilt.”

Neither speech, however, changed the fundamental political dynamic in Congress. And neither did Obama’s entirely predictable remarks.

The theory of Obama’s speech was simple -- that the arguments for his existing health reform plan needed to be made more loudly. It was as if the last few months -- bringing one of the largest drops in presidential approval in modern history -- never happened. We heard the same approach, the same arguments and the same straw men, with the only major difference being a sharpened tone against opponents. It was as if Obama spent his summer vacation not in Martha’s Vineyard, but in a soundproof room.

In an interview last week, David Axelrod said of the health issue, “Everything that has needed to be said has been said.” In his joint session speech, Obama managed to say it all again. But he provided few reasons for anyone to change their minds.

By Michael Gerson  | September 10, 2009; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Gerson  | Tags:  Michael Gerson  
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Comments

You are too dismissive. What alternatives to the well recognized health care mess do you propose? Shrill criticism as the only strategy gets very stale. If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem. Provide alternatives or shut up!

Posted by: jrguzman | September 10, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

The article said it. Obama's speech was so irratic that I turned it off.

I sense that a revolution is in the winds or Republicans, Independants, a majority of seniors and even some Democrats will seceed to start a new Government that is not ruled by the left and their deviant lifestyles.

Posted by: WISEOWL1 | September 10, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

To wiseowl1:

Please learn to spell.

Posted by: jrguzman | September 10, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse


More diaper squeezings from the Mission Accomplished wizard.

He isn't even trying.

Posted by: pmp2430-wp | September 10, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Joe Wilson cross the line on the House Floor. If this happen during a "House debate" all work would have stopped and a democrat would demand that wilson's words be "taken down"
C-span: "Words Taken Down is the House rule used to discipline a member for using inappropriate words in debate.
After the words are "taken down" by the clerk and read back, the chair rules on their suitability.
If ruled inappropriate, the member may not speak again on the same day without House permission."

Wilson ought to be ban for from speaking on the house floor for the rest of the year. The decorum of the House should be respected at all times. This is not a town hall meeting. This is a joint session of congress. The folks from South Carolina that I know don't act this way.

This behavior by the republicans is appalling. Goofy Gomert waving a sign doing the President's speech was lower than low. This is not another country. THIS IS THE US STATES OF AMERICA, were most people try to teach their children to act civil. The republican minority leader must take full responsibilty for his party's action and ban his members from watching their other leaders like glen beck, rush limbaugh, fox news and the like until after the work is complete on healthcare.

Posted by: MILLER123 | September 10, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Tell us more lies, mr. gop. This was the speech of a lifetime. Dismissing it does not make it go away.

I especially liked the rebuttal by the "Heart Surgeon" about tort reform--He was sued for malpractice three times and tried to buy himself a "lord" title--and was scammed. Then he ran for congress. who needs to say more?

Posted by: tmcproductions2004 | September 10, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Wouldn't this money be better spent fighting terrorism in countries that have never attacked us? Neocons love war and debt.

Posted by: rcvinson64 | September 10, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Agreed. Obama never provides any details and basically just makes things up that sound good. Same old, same old.

Posted by: DaMan2 | September 10, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Why not scream 'lies' like the rest of your right-wing thugs? Of course there was nothing new, just a classy, sensible argument for an initiative vitally needed in this country. But hey, why engage? Just dismiss it and go back to being morally and intellectually bankrupt.

Posted by: ryanvb | September 10, 2009 1:07 AM | Report abuse

Unimaginative, cynical, divisive, status quo WaPo writing also "ISN'T NEW."

Posted by: start_loving | September 10, 2009 1:12 AM | Report abuse

Gerson, why don't you follow up on your column published earlier in the day... explain how Obama declared a health crisis, and, therefore, he has no credibility. Oh wait, he didn't. What again are the poll numbers on your credibility?

Posted by: Super_Grover | September 10, 2009 1:12 AM | Report abuse

Insurance as a concept was meant to help cover relatively rare events that might effect some once in a lifetime and the majority of others never in their lifetimes -- e.g.auto accidents, flood, fire. A large population paid a small premium to help a few when they were in need. In the U.S.A. capitalism has run amuck with health care, as it has with banking and wall street. The profit motive has turned more then 51% of the population into "patients" with the "ask your doctor about ______" philosophy of creating profits out of thin air. Get people in the door -- more patients = more profits -- its as simple as that. Cholesterol levels have been lowered so much that normal levels found in most populations are now "bad" and require treatment. The same with blood pressure. A million unnecessary prostate surgeries according to a recent study. Most seniors are on multiple Rx medications. It goes on and on. The insurance model no longer works.

Posted by: edwulet | September 10, 2009 1:27 AM | Report abuse

Well, let's see what happens. So far, I do not like what I am hearing, however, this situation needs to be fixed NOW. After all the dilly-dallying - vacations here and vacations there, Barack Hussein is back in the White House (he finally, found the Oval Office, and realized the Democrats could not come up with a good plan. Bottom line, he is listening to John McCain. Thank God. Hussein Obsama is too inexperienced to be the President. I am not saying he is a bad person, just lacks the practical knowledge of running this country.

Posted by: USAISARMYSTRONG | September 10, 2009 1:33 AM | Report abuse

A deeply disappointing speech. After the criticism of the August recess, I managed to briefly convince myself that Obama just might finally give up the partisan rhetoric and seek a bipartisan compromise along the lines of the one offered by Bob Dole and Bill Bradley. All hope of that has faded now. He's clearly going for an 'us-plus-Olympia Snowe' solution.

Posted by: eTom | September 10, 2009 1:37 AM | Report abuse

He didn't say anything new at all, just more blame Republicans, let's have bipartisanship, blame Republicans some more.

But he did lay out his plan for bankrupting and putting insurance companies ouf of business with, "But by avoiding some of the overhead that gets eaten up at private companies by profits, excessive administrative costs and executive salaries, it could provide a good deal for consumers."

If that isn't a recipe for bankruptcy, I don't what is.

Posted by: lewwaters | September 10, 2009 1:39 AM | Report abuse

Gerson is at it again, desparate and without credibility. The president put the right wingnuts where they belong; in the "LIES" column, and he confirmed his support for public option and challenged all to come up with a better approach. Can Gerson come up with something more effective than the public option? Be careful what you wish for, because if you convince us to do single payer then we will.

Posted by: Single_Payer | September 10, 2009 1:47 AM | Report abuse

Obama did not tell the truth. He told the same, tired old lies about not losing our current coverage, about not covering illegals, and about not denying care to fragile seniors.

Now for you folks who are outraged over Rep Wilson's outburst . . . before you get your panties on fire . . go back to the Bush State of the Union when the Dems booed him. Booed him a couple of times.

Lose the outrage. It makes you look like a hypocrie.

Posted by: JoeCollins1 | September 10, 2009 1:53 AM | Report abuse

Can I ask you readers something - is it my imagination or is Barack on TV more than a soap opera? Every time I turn around, I see that face on television. I am wondering if this could be a spinoff from the soap "Days Of Our Lives". PULEEZE NO MORE TV SPEECHES. ENOUGH!!!!

Posted by: USAISARMYSTRONG | September 10, 2009 1:53 AM | Report abuse

You get what you pay for and you get what you deserve. Sometimes we should learn from other countries who seem to have a longer life span than us - oddly, we aren't the best at everything and could learn a lot if we weren't so beset by our own fears and insecurities.

Posted by: 10emlet | September 10, 2009 1:59 AM | Report abuse

As a speech (form, function, features) it seemed a little dull - a little detached. no new items were presented (reread the AMA transcript and campaign stumps) and no new rhetorical methods employed. He'll benefit more from Republican behavior then he will speechwriter ability on this one.

As a plan (devil's in the details) there has yet to be anything laid out concretely - or 'ironed out.' Next week's Finance bill should be an interesting read.

Overall - B-. he handled himself well. but when a joint session is called, you expect something groundbreaking. I hardly believe he rose to the occasion with this one. Of course, he's more comfortable in an open forum-type venue then "i talk, you listen" one. I imagine it comes from his professorship days.

Then again, all these appraisals are likely meaningless. If you like the guy, you loved it. if you like the policies, you loved it. If neither fits you, you didn't like it. Not hated it, but left with a distinctly indifferent impression.

Posted by: MetroOpensMinds | September 10, 2009 2:04 AM | Report abuse

how is this for something new, gerson: you're as ill-mannered as that i d i o t joe wilson. come up with something new. sheesh.

Posted by: frieda406 | September 10, 2009 2:05 AM | Report abuse

Gerson's column is nothing new ... it's just a long-winded variation on Joe Wilson's outburst, which itself was just a rehash of VP Cheney's notorious outburst on the floor of the U. S. Senate: "Go F-ck Yourself."

Posted by: HughBriss | September 10, 2009 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Obama did lie. Read this two-pager:

http://www.fairus.org/site/DocServer/2009_07_24_Analysis_Section_246_is_Ineffective_vFINAL.pdf?docID=3101

Posted by: tanarg | September 10, 2009 2:36 AM | Report abuse


Another loser with nothing worthwhile to say. He is more concerned about the scummy friends of his losing some of their profit margin than the well being of Americans.

Posted by: dogsbestfriend | September 10, 2009 2:43 AM | Report abuse

OK somethin' fishy -- the Present's numbers mutated tonight. No more 47 mil. uninsured. Now we're down to 30 mil. and counting!!!

"It is a lie, plain and simple!"

Yes, you guessed right. That was candidate obama, the president of the United States, speaking in the people's chamber tonight; the angry, cynical, hopey-changey, president who's in campaign mode 24/7 -- it's still the obama, stupid -- bringing the country and the two Parties together, and which this down-on-its-luck country is stuck with for the next three and a half years!

Posted by: pouran-doukht | September 10, 2009 2:43 AM | Report abuse

a) None of your columns ever says anything new. That doesn't stop you.

b) In the face of vicious lying, as that done by you and your right-wing brethren, repeating the truth is necessary.

c) You're still a disgrace, and a taint on the Washington Post brand name.

Posted by: sembtex | September 10, 2009 2:59 AM | Report abuse

What's so post partisan about this writer's remarks? I saw Obama's speech, and I was completely supportive of everything he had to say; however, I am only an American citizen; I am not being paid by healthcare industry lobbyists so I can see the issues of healthcare reform clearly. President Obama was voted into office by people like me; we just want a President who isn't sold out by global corporate interests. the USA may be struggling, but it is still an asset and it is still desirable to pick off by anyone who thinks they have the clout and dollars to do it.

Posted by: therookie | September 10, 2009 4:32 AM | Report abuse

Apparently, Gerson and I did not hear the same speech. Gerson is the columnist who said yesterday that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with our present health system. The basic, "I've got mine," viewpoint we've come to expect.

As for the heart surgeon who replied for the Republicans to Obama his comments were so full of inaccuracies and misrepresentations, that it could not pass the laugh test. Lucky for him no one took him seriously and actually took apart his speech, which was all hot air and no balloon. Just defending a dysfunctional status-quo, which apparently is Gerson's mission here as well.

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | September 10, 2009 4:41 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Mr. Gerson. Not only was there nothing new in the speech, but Obama totally disregards anyone who disagrees with him -- and that's 52% of the American public at last count.

He also apparently refuses to listen to Republicans, keeps repeating "They offer no alternatives." Either he's stone deaf, too insulated, a total blockhead, or lying. Take your pick.

Not only Republicans, but also groups like the AHIP insurance association, have offered proposals that include tort reform, relaxing and/or eliminating state regulations that prohibit selling insurance across state lines; and the AHIP has agreed to offer coverage without clauses about pre-existing conditions, etc.

These alterantive proposals aren't sweeping overhauls, however. They only address the real problems rather than demolishing capitalism, so no one would expect Obama and his cohorts to hear them. They don't fit the president's broad agenda of unlimited government expansion and stamping out personal liberty and free enterprise.

And Obama just couldn't resist slapping a couple faces with remarks about the spending of earlier administrations, etc. Then he asked for "civility" and an end to "acrimony." Again -- this only applies to those who insult him, not those he insults.

Nothing new in the speech at all. To me, this reveals a genuine lack of creative thought on the president's part, while his other comments only feed the bitter partisanship in Washington.

He could have taken a few steps toward some kind of compromise, but he didn't. He remains an entrenched partisan radical and is cutting his own throat in terms of accomplishing anything except stirring up more controversy and driving the political poles even farther apart.

This is a guy who LIKES a crisis, after all.

Posted by: gigi0102 | September 10, 2009 4:54 AM | Report abuse

Obama our worse fears realized, Punish our friends, cuddle our enemies, Punish responsibility and hard work, reward the corrupt, lazy and foolish. In other words the policies he and the majority of Democrats are pushing is the same socialist policies that have failed repeatedly around the world and here in States like Calif. and New York. Their ideal of a just society is not to lift the poor up but to bring all others down to their levels, sounds a lot the old Soviet Union, does it not? With the Democrat party replacing the Communist party!

Posted by: american1 | September 10, 2009 6:25 AM | Report abuse

It's just delightful to hear from Michael Gerson, former speechwriter for President Smirky. The republicans nearly flushed the country down the toilet during their eight-year reign of terror and incompetence, invading the wrong country after 9/11, giving away huge tax cuts to the already wealthy, doing little during Katrina and nothing afterward, promoting torture, and royally f*cking up the Justice Department with political hackery. The republicans now stand for nothing but obstructionism and good-ole-boy racism, and have absolutely nothing to offer in terms of serious health insurance reform policy prescriptions. Shut the f*ck up Gerson and get out of the way to let the grownups grapple with the problems and the solutions President Obama described so eloquently last night in his Joint Address to Congress.

Posted by: idontthinkso | September 10, 2009 6:42 AM | Report abuse

In response to WISEOWL1: Your comments would carry more weight if you learned to spell. As it stands, you're just another knuckle-dragging rightwinger.

In response to Gerson: And what do you propose?

Oh, I see -- you're a pundit -- your only job is to throw stones. How about you join Joe Wilson on the trash heap of history.

Posted by: OldRedneck | September 10, 2009 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Gerson, journalist (excuse me, hacks)like you are who arouse the very worst in the far right neocons. I just can't understand why the WAPO continues to employ you. You article and everyone else's should have been about the total disrespect shown by Joe Wilson, to our President the man, to the office of President, to the members of Congress, and to the American people. The Republicans sat there like a bunch of angry white men who have no intention of cooperating with this President. I would be totally ashamed to call myself a Republican, if I were one.

Posted by: OHREALLYNOW | September 10, 2009 7:03 AM | Report abuse

How pathetic that the Washington Post continues to provide a platform for the former speechwriter and current apologist for George W. Bush. I can only surmise that some really sly Post executive hired this bozo, in the belief that anyone with an ounce of brains will instantly support the opposite of anything Michael Gerson advocates.

Michael Gerson once more shows us that the Goebbel-like brainpower that helped put God's pure fool in the White House for eight years can still spin Dixiecrat (AKA:Republican) propaganda with the best of them. He remains one of the leading Dixiecrat propagandists of all time. He has revealed once more that he does, too, have the brainpower that could twice help elect GW Bush. His intellectual kinship with George W. Bush remains intact.

Hmmm. Michael Gerson, Michael Gerson. Isn’t he one of those strange people who call themselves conservatives and told us that if we put them in charge, they would impose fiscal responsibility and cut the federal government down to size? So we put them in charge, and eight years later, the economy had collapsed, the federal budget, debt, and earmarks were out of control, and the federal government intruded into our private lives more than ever.

And isn't Michael Gerson one of those leading Republicans who wants to inflict Sarah Palin on us and states with a straight face that she is fully qualified to be President of the United States?

Since the record clearly shows that Michael Gerson is a liar and a fraud, why should we believe anything he says about anything? And why is such a proven liar and fraud a columnist on a major American newspaper?


Posted by: tbarksdl | September 10, 2009 7:04 AM | Report abuse

You're nothing new either Gerson. There have been nay-sayers since the beginning of time.

Posted by: democratus | September 10, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Being uncivil and disrespectful in such a forum was a big mistake for the Republicans, who seem to relish spewing stilted invective. Their old-boys-club chuckling seemed a bit like whistling past the graveyard in this case.

Obama scored lots of points that we will hear over and over again the rest of the Fall. Casting his plan as the center between a single payer system and abandoning employer sponsored plans seems about right.

Did the Republicans already forget the last election which rejected their cynical, dishonest and dismissive approach?

Someone has apparently mistaken their own town hall bombast for truthtelling.

Please try and give America the real discussion and constructive debate we deserve, or go hide like Rep. Wilson did right after the speech.

Posted by: Spiller1 | September 10, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

The "nothing new" part is between your ideology and your pen, I'm afraid

Posted by: stevehar1 | September 10, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson, fear not, the President's speech was not intended for you and your ilk who have already decided to oppose him regardless of what he says or does. In fact, I suspect you may have written this "piece" hours before the President began speaking. His speech was intended for those Americans who are still disposed to rational debate and discussion.

Posted by: Anthony14 | September 10, 2009 7:28 AM | Report abuse

tbarksdl wrote: And why is such a proven liar and fraud a columnist on a major American newspaper?

He's not with a major American newspaper, he's with the Washington Post.

Posted by: raycrossley | September 10, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

If novelty is the criterion, goodbye to Gerson, Will, Broder, Cohen . . .

Posted by: misterjrthed | September 10, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

The attitude of many Americans who enjoy health care coverage seems to be"Pull up the ladder, Jack, I'm aboard".

Posted by: robfield | September 10, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, you choose to nothing positive with your column. Something new? We have been looking at health care for 60 years. I would hope there are not significant new options that have not been considered. If there are, we need to replace the House and Senate.

Since I assume you agree with the group that supports the existing system being improved. why haven't the insurance companies done so already? They do not need Congress to improve the quality of service and lower the costs of what they provide. Executive compensation largess is paid to have net income grow beyond the norm not to be middle of the road. How do we get prudent cost control with when profits are the company's principal goal.

I reread your article and I did not see anything new in it!

Posted by: concerned13 | September 10, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

With some exceptions, asking Congress to design a better health care system is like asking a group of prison convicts to design a better prison. The current system pays the bills for them and keeps them getting re-elected. There's no incentive for them to change it- they already have health insurance. The real losers in this process, though, are the working poor who lack health insurance coverage. Obama came up short in helping them and in helping young people who lack coverage. A promise of help 4 years from now is not much help. There should be some major restructuring of Medicaid and unemployment coverage- with temporary assistance to those who lack coverage through an employer as part of that program and with the Federal government picking up the entire tab on Medicaid and unemployment insurance. That would help people right now, not 4 years from now.

Posted by: ripvanwinkleincollege | September 10, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Gerson's column was nothing new.

Posted by: bdunn1 | September 10, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Of course Obama's speech was nothing new. He just pointed out that everyone agrees on a sensible start to health care reform and that it is time to get the job done. Its clear that almost all of the Republicans agree with his approach. The question is whether they want to make a constructive contribution to working out the details or whether they think their only value is whining about ideology and just saying no. Clearly there is nothing new in Michael Gerson trying to get by without actually adressing any real issues.

Posted by: dnjake | September 10, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

It was crucial at this point in time to call out the belligerent naysayers and their fabrications and lies, and hold them accountable to reasonable intelligent citizens. That branch of the GOP that behaves like ignorant arses have been called out, and will respond with gloves off, and continue to back themselves into a diminishing corner of history's trashheap.

Posted by: schaeffz | September 10, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Disappointed that the President didn't acknowledge that he cannot insure that existing insurance plans will stay the same and that the Medicare benefits will undoubtedly be cut. These omissions shred his credibility.

Posted by: gmallet0709 | September 10, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Neither is Gerson's column. Same ol' hack job. "Entirely predictable," indeed!

>>>>"Obama's Speech Was Nothing New"

Posted by: toch | September 10, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Hey Mr. USAISARMYSTRONG. You are no better than the Republicans on the floor last night with their disrespect of the President. Your reference to his middle name and not his first name is totally disrespectful. I guess you also had a problem with his speech to the school children as well. What exactly are you trying to imply by using his middle name. Exactly what underling point are you trying to get across. I truly don't understand why pages like the Washington Post or anywhere else give you and Gerson a place to share your small minded and unintelligent views.

Posted by: kevin_myers36 | September 10, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Totally predictable. Nothing new.

Gerson, that is.

Obama's speech was an olive branch AND a shot across the bow. GOP, you've been served notice. Obama and the Democrats can now proceed and deliver universal health care, Republicans be damned. The Obama-haters will gripe and moan, and at the same time many of them will benefit from the reform.

What's important after the speech is that Obama has gotten his party, including the Blue Dogs, back on his side. Republicans are irrelevant.

Posted by: hitpoints | September 10, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

But yet, it is ok for Saint O to call people liars? That is really saying something when he is up there lying left and right. He is going to pay for everything with savings from the system now. I really think his nose grew with that line.

******
Joe Wilson cross the line on the House Floor. If this happen during a "House debate" all work would have stopped and a democrat would demand that wilson's words be "taken down"
C-span: "Words Taken Down is the House rule used to discipline a member for using inappropriate words in debate.
After the words are "taken down" by the clerk and read back, the chair rules on their suitability.
If ruled inappropriate, the member may not speak again on the same day without House permission."

Wilson ought to be ban for from speaking on the house floor for the rest of the year. The decorum of the House should be respected at all times. This is not a town hall meeting. This is a joint session of congress. The folks from South Carolina that I know don't act this way.

This behavior by the republicans is appalling. Goofy Gomert waving a sign doing the President's speech was lower than low. This is not another country. THIS IS THE US STATES OF AMERICA, were most people try to teach their children to act civil. The republican minority leader must take full responsibilty for his party's action and ban his members from watching their other leaders like glen beck, rush limbaugh, fox news and the like until after the work is complete on healthcare.

Posted by: MILLER123 | September 10, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: KABOOKEY | September 10, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Gerson, are you still here?

Posted by: jckdoors | September 10, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

And tell why it should be the attitude of those that do not have it to demand someone else pay for their way of life when they refuse to step up to the plate and do something for themselves? It is a two way street buddy and the problem is to many think there are free lunches when the fact is nothing is free it is always paid for by someone that is working harder then the next guy. Stop crying about what you lack and do something about it.

******
The attitude of many Americans who enjoy health care coverage seems to be"Pull up the ladder, Jack, I'm aboard".

Posted by: robfield | September 10, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: KABOOKEY | September 10, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

This post looks oddly like it was written before Obama gave his speech and without reading the text to it. That Obama was pushing the same plan is hardly a surprise. But every fact pointed to in this post comes from the past, none of it comes from Obama's speech. There are no examples of things that Obama did reflecting a failure to pay attention to the summer. Did Obama's calling out the specific lies told over the summer show he ignored the summer?

I guess it is a measure of the quality of the speech that the critics of the speech need to ignore the content of the speech to make their criticisms.

Posted by: beckerl | September 10, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Kabookey, don't look now, but you're already paying for the people you look down on. And you'll be paying more and more each year under the current setup. A different model is needed.

Posted by: hitpoints | September 10, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Our health care system isnt a mess or broken or in crisis. It works for about 85% of the population. Lets first recognize that fundamental fact. Next, we are only talking about adding 10mm people, or 3% of the population. The rest of the uninsured are "illegal" aliens, people who qualify for free government care now but havent bothered to sign up, and those who can afford but dont want health insurance.
Our politicians on both sides play fast and loose with the truth and the general population notices. If its your guy doing it, you think its ok; if its the other guy, then he's a liar. No wonder the whole process is divisive.

Posted by: bruce18 | September 10, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

The "Christian" Right really does care about health care. The uninsured can always beg or, better yet, pray. Beyond the grave, there is a wonderful place with no pain, hunger, or disease.

Have ye faith. Love thy neighbor, but may his salvation be through repentence and conversion, and not by thy purse. Giveth not loaves or fish to the masses. Verily, thou shalt horde thy mamon and reap thyne own treasure, as a sign of thyne own salvation. Charity at home, or at one's own church, brother. If a billionare endows a clinic, fine; but if the state levies a tax to fund 100,000 clinics, perdition. Etc.

Meanwhile, the folks with real power find this a marvelous way to hold down taxes, skimp on labor costs, and even movtivate the "goobers" to show up in masses on election day to vote against reform. Brilliant.

Posted by: jkoch2 | September 10, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

"Obama's Speech Was Nothing New" said Gerson. Perhaps that's true.

Coincidentally, Gerson's response is nothing new, either. Obama said something and Gerson opposed it.

One thing was new, the Republican Congressman from SC heckling the President. That's new. It's a sign that the incivility usually confined to right wing talk show hosts (Coulter, Beck, Limbaugh) has been adopted by leaders of the Republican party.

And so has spreading fear and unsubstantiated rumors. Former Republican VP nominee, Sarah Palin said of the healthcare bill, "My parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide,... whether they are worthy of health care."

What does it say about the direction of the Republican party when it's leaders behave this way? That's what's new, the depths that GOP party leaders will sink to stop healthcare reform in this country.

Posted by: paul6554 | September 10, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Until you and others in the media report on the specifics of lobbying dollars going to those who are to decide on healthcare legislation, you cannot pretend to be reporting honestly. Start with Sen. Baucus, if you dare. Your cynicism could be helpful if it caused you to do a bit of digging into the causal facts and details of legislative dysfunction.
The public needs good reporting now, not opinionating. Don't let us down.This is supposed to be a major source of reporting.
You might start with T.R. Reid's recent book, "Healing in America," then go to .

Posted by: ewa123 | September 10, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Are you referring to the dems pushing ideology over common sense?

******
Of course Obama's speech was nothing new. He just pointed out that everyone agrees on a sensible start to health care reform and that it is time to get the job done. Its clear that almost all of the Republicans agree with his approach. The question is whether they want to make a constructive contribution to working out the details or whether they think their only value is whining about ideology and just saying no. Clearly there is nothing new in Michael Gerson trying to get by without actually adressing any real issues.

Posted by: dnjake | September 10, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: KABOOKEY | September 10, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Yes and Saint O resorting to calling people liars is a new one too. I guess it is ok for him to call people liars but how dare anyone question the Sainted One. Considering the fact he is now claiming that all this will be paid for by getting rid of waste. You really think he believes that? Him running around saying the other side has no ideas or plans. He may not like their plans or agree with them but to say they do not have any is nothing more then a lie. I guess those lies are ok, right?

*****
Obama's Speech Was Nothing New" said Gerson. Perhaps that's true.

Coincidentally, Gerson's response is nothing new, either. Obama said something and Gerson opposed it.

One thing was new, the Republican Congressman from SC heckling the President. That's new. It's a sign that the incivility usually confined to right wing talk show hosts (Coulter, Beck, Limbaugh) has been adopted by leaders of the Republican party.

And so has spreading fear and unsubstantiated rumors. Former Republican VP nominee, Sarah Palin said of the healthcare bill, "My parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide,... whether they are worthy of health care."

What does it say about the direction of the Republican party when it's leaders behave this way? That's what's new, the depths that GOP party leaders will sink to stop healthcare reform in this country.

Posted by: paul6554 | September 10, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: KABOOKEY | September 10, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Too true--same old...............Democrats trying to save the corporations by regulating them, Republicans replaying racial politics of the pre-civil rights era. It is time to stomp the drug and insurance companies, and create a non-profit system of health care. To all the frightened I say: I would rather be rationed by a government bureaucrat than by an insurance company bureaucrat.

Posted by: rusty3 | September 10, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Well, I can say there are plenty of Catholic hopsitals and charity's out there helping those that need it but you would hard pressed to find any of you atheists providing hospital care of chairty work. Spare us the BS buddy and work on your facts because as much as you want to bash Christians they give far more to help those in need then any on the left even think about giving. Those are the facts, try looking it up before you spew.

*****
The "Christian" Right really does care about health care. The uninsured can always beg or, better yet, pray. Beyond the grave, there is a wonderful place with no pain, hunger, or disease.

Have ye faith. Love thy neighbor, but may his salvation be through repentence and conversion, and not by thy purse. Giveth not loaves or fish to the masses. Verily, thou shalt horde thy mamon and reap thyne own treasure, as a sign of thyne own salvation. Charity at home, or at one's own church, brother. If a billionare endows a clinic, fine; but if the state levies a tax to fund 100,000 clinics, perdition. Etc.

Meanwhile, the folks with real power find this a marvelous way to hold down taxes, skimp on labor costs, and even movtivate the "goobers" to show up in masses on election day to vote against reform. Brilliant.

Posted by: jkoch2 | September 10, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: KABOOKEY | September 10, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Too true--same old...............Democrats trying to save the corporations by regulating them, Republicans replaying racial politics of the pre-civil rights era. It is time to stomp the drug and insurance companies, and create a non-profit system of health care. To all the frightened I say: I would rather be rationed by a government bureaucrat than by an insurance company bureaucrat.

Posted by: rusty3 | September 10, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Yes, lets put the drug companies out of business. We can always rely on China to invest in new drugs and new ways of saving lives in the future. Just like the government has invested in the postal service to make it better and more competitive. We can see the success rate there and that would be the future of health care, late and damaged and you can't sue the government so who are you lefty's going to sue in the future.

*****
Too true--same old...............Democrats trying to save the corporations by regulating them, Republicans replaying racial politics of the pre-civil rights era. It is time to stomp the drug and insurance companies, and create a non-profit system of health care. To all the frightened I say: I would rather be rationed by a government bureaucrat than by an insurance company bureaucrat.

Posted by: rusty3 | September 10, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: KABOOKEY | September 10, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

As usual, Gerson has turned a bilious shade of Envy Green.

If only Gerson had ever written a speech for Bush that was a tenth as good as Obama's worst.

But he didn't.

In six years of pimping of Bush, the best Gerson could do was take credit for modifying David Frum's puerile "Axis of Hatred" to the equally puerile "Axis of Evil."

In Frum's book, 'The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush', Frum writes, "Gerson wanted to use the theological language that Bush had made his own since Sept. 11," Frum writes, "so 'axis of hatred' became 'axis of evil.' "

No wonder Gerson is so jealous and petty about Obama's public addresses.

Posted by: WhatHeSaid | September 10, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

The amount of ear-wax and partial deafness I'm experiencing after this speech is nothing new either. Obama reached out a hand to shake, and got slapped down by a man lying and shouting "you lie!"

Afterwards the deafness ranged from Coburn's claim that the President's speach offered a good plan, just nothing like what the Democrats are doing, to repeats of charges that the plan does all the things that Obama, the text, and the rest of us say it doesn't do. A lot of deafness in the room.

Deafness and rudeness. I don't remember the Democrats booing Bush, though since this is a new precedent, maybe we should boo the next President who is as awful, dissembling and dishonest as Bush was. That would really help the "partisanship" a lot. We could be like British Parliament.

It's nice to hear a President who is serious about not burdening the public debt. We still haven't paid for the Iraq and Afghanistan war. Guess who'll get the blame when we finally do start paying? But you wouldn't know it from the posturing of the Rightie pundits and politicians.

We've been shadow boxing with Republicans for a long time. And every one of them who is serious about providing health care to the sick and dying has already changed parties. What is left are the people who showed their determination to scowl and hate last night.

Okay, but at least get the earwax out of your ears and stop making up stuff. We'll get this done. You just will have to live with the results of your stupidity.

And Gerson is their cheerleader.

Posted by: chris_holte | September 10, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Gerson: nothing new.

The same obstructionism, cynicism and lies week after week.

Posted by: alarico | September 10, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Predictable? You most assuredly are Gerson... the "depth" of your comments betrays your pre-speech predilections - your column had to be what it is because you pre-wrote it before OUR President took the podium. Hack.

Posted by: johnfergusonwp | September 10, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely nothing new in the speech...only more threats ... I was actually hoping he wound confront specific criticisms with sound argument...but as we all know, Obama only resorts to rhetoric, and power of words to win arguments, there is no substance in it...no basis...

The public option is touted to impact only 5% of those "who cannot afford it"...on paper this may be true today, but he did not address the criticism that employers will "tend" to change their plans towards the public option since it is definitely cheaper than others (who can compete with the govt?)...hence Obama is all doublespeak, we are witnessing the con-man at his best.

Moreover, the premiums for the private plans will definitely rise thanks to the various new rules (existing ailments coverage, ceiling on patient liabilities etc)...this in turn make the public option look bettr to employees....and employers will be sitting ducks

Illegal immigrants - why is is that Dems so vigorously oppose the Republican suggestion of requiring residency/status checks prior to offering insurance coverage? This is the loophole that lets the illegals sneak into the system, and Obama knows it.

This is all lawyerese and gamesmanship...my regard for the President is even lower now, and I seriously thought he would find middle ground during the speech...but he simply more of the same...hollow...

Posted by: ConcernedCitizen35 | September 10, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

He reached out a hand? Are you serious. Please explain how he reached out a hand. was that right after he called people who were against his plan liars? After he went on about death panels but failed to mention that the senate plan took out their portion that dealt with "end of life issues" but there were not death panels because it did not say death panel so it must not be in there. Please lay out where he reached out a hand. He said a lot of stuff but he has been saying a lot for some time.


****
The amount of ear-wax and partial deafness I'm experiencing after this speech is nothing new either. Obama reached out a hand to shake, and got slapped down by a man lying and shouting "you lie!"

Afterwards the deafness ranged from Coburn's claim that the President's speach offered a good plan, just nothing like what the Democrats are doing, to repeats of charges that the plan does all the things that Obama, the text, and the rest of us say it doesn't do. A lot of deafness in the room.

Deafness and rudeness. I don't remember the Democrats booing Bush, though since this is a new precedent, maybe we should boo the next President who is as awful, dissembling and dishonest as Bush was. That would really help the "partisanship" a lot. We could be like British Parliament.

It's nice to hear a President who is serious about not burdening the public debt. We still haven't paid for the Iraq and Afghanistan war. Guess who'll get the blame when we finally do start paying? But you wouldn't know it from the posturing of the Rightie pundits and politicians.

We've been shadow boxing with Republicans for a long time. And every one of them who is serious about providing health care to the sick and dying has already changed parties. What is left are the people who showed their determination to scowl and hate last night.

Okay, but at least get the earwax out of your ears and stop making up stuff. We'll get this done. You just will have to live with the results of your stupidity.

And Gerson is their cheerleader.

Posted by: chris_holte | September 10, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: KABOOKEY | September 10, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

According to the president's speech, the problem of the uninsured must be solving itself while he and Congress have been mulling over those 5 different bills.

Until last evening, the president consistently talked about the "46 million uninsured," but in his speech, he used the number "30 million uninsured." Fabulous! A drop of 16 million over the past week!

We'll have to wait for another CBO estimate on the cost of Obama's "new/old" plan. And speaking of paying for the public option portion, it was gracious of Obama to say that "not one dollar" from the Medicare Trust Fund would be used to underwrite his health-care plan. What he conveniently neglected to add is that's because the Medicare Trust Fund is already sporting a $38 trillion deficit.

Read a transcript of Obama's speech. It's long on campaign rhetoric, short on facts, and interspersed with the usual blaming, which does nothing to enhance that bipartisanship that Obama claims to desire.

Posted by: judithod | September 10, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

You are a piece of s___t, plain and simple, Gerson. You b__ch about details. He gives you details, and you're not impressed? Well, f_____k YOU, d__chebag.

Posted by: fbutler1 | September 10, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Another from the fine tollerant left. Do you hate yourself?


****
You are a piece of s___t, plain and simple, Gerson. You b__ch about details. He gives you details, and you're not impressed? Well, f_____k YOU, d__chebag.

Posted by: fbutler1 | September 10, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: KABOOKEY | September 10, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Please explain then exactly what the proposed medicare review boards will do? Please tell us how they are going to trim medicare without hurting service? They want to cut fees to doctors. Doctors who already complain about the low payments they get from medicare now. Doctors they are accepting fewer and fewer medicare patients because of the payment rates. Please explain Saint O's own adviser on health care putting value on younger and older people on healthy and sick people and talking about cutting care. Please tell us how that does not lead to death panels with their way of thinking. Health care will be great for older people just as long as they don't get sick and need it.

*****
"Obama's Speech Was Nothing New" said Gerson. Perhaps that's true.

Coincidentally, Gerson's response is nothing new, either. Obama said something and Gerson opposed it.

One thing was new, the Republican Congressman from SC heckling the President. That's new. It's a sign that the incivility usually confined to right wing talk show hosts (Coulter, Beck, Limbaugh) has been adopted by leaders of the Republican party.

And so has spreading fear and unsubstantiated rumors. Former Republican VP nominee, Sarah Palin said of the healthcare bill, "My parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide,... whether they are worthy of health care."

What does it say about the direction of the Republican party when it's leaders behave this way? That's what's new, the depths that GOP party leaders will sink to stop healthcare reform in this country.

Posted by: paul6554 | September 10, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: KABOOKEY | September 10, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

We remain with the same system as the Obama health reform will not pass the senate. It is possible we will have some insurance reform changes but at best is will not be Obama plan.
Obama speech was nothing new as Gerson said. One republican could not keep his mouth closed. The other Republicans seat stone faced. Democratic make alot of noise and hour was wasted on T.V. In the meantime the unemployment increased. A good time was not had for all.

Posted by: artg | September 10, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

HAHAHHA! Gerson you take the cake -- one of the most transparent, lopsided failures ever to get printed!

When have you EVER been right about anything? Ever?

Well, you're right about one thing Mr. White Right Gerson -- there is nothing new in your fallacious, trite, spiteful rantings -- there never really have been and probably never will be...

Good Lord what a waste -- what a cowardly, simple, perverse naysayer you are...

.

Posted by: Frank57 | September 10, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Repubs are surprised that Obama would be tough on them? (Tsk, tsk, after all the positive and constructive comments they've made about the reform effort this summer, not to mention mobilizing of armed right-wing crazies at town hall meetings.) They offer absolutely no cooperation at all, despite their small minority in Congress, and they get miffed when Obama warns he will move on without them. Repubs are incredibly clueless (and amnesiac--they forget how Bush ignored Dems on most policy debates despite having a much smaller majority in Congress).

How long is Obama supposed to extend his hand? Jim DeMint of SC revealed the true Repub strategy when he boasted that defeating Obama on health care would be his "Waterloo". That showed how incredibly unpatriotic Repubs are: they would rather do what is necessary to help their party in the short-run than what is necessary to help their country in the long-run.

Posted by: pennsykid2000 | September 10, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if the Republicans have been so proud of their town hall meetings this summer that they decided to bring them right into the Congress in the belief that Americans really DO live and rule by insult and degradation.
Well, if so, they have miscalculated. Not that it is going to stop them, of course. We can all wait for the You Tube videos to surface of Republicans holding "private" celebrations over their new "Joe" hero.

Posted by: cms1 | September 10, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Turning up the volume does not strengthen an argument!
Beating a dead horse will not make it run!
We heard nothing new last night - and the inconsistencies and lies still remain in the plan, e.g.."preventive testing saves money" and, "a public option would not fund abortions".
Obama has to "Reset" the plan and get serious about Tort Reform.
His talk about cutting the fraud from Medicare is risible! If it was that easy even Clinton could have done it :-)
If there is that much fraud that can be cut - why do we need to do anything else???

Posted by: thornegp1 | September 10, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

According to about 90% of the press out there the speech was historic. The President did what he needed to do and even called the Republicans out for their lies and the infantile behavior (perfect example would be Joe Wilson).

What's the matter Gerson? Realize you can't write a speech like that to save your life?

Posted by: alysheba_3 | September 10, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Nothing new indeed!! Same old boorish behavior by the GOP pandering to the GOP base (aka a mob). Same old theatrics waving non existent plans in the air as if the GOP really cares about health care reform and is actually willing to do anything about it. We had 13 years of GOP rule and they did nothing, zip, nada about tort reform. They passed a drug bill for seniors but did not fund it - thus adding to the deficit. The old GOP of fiscal conservatives is dead, killed by the crowd that came in with Newt Gingrich. They have no values, no shame, no truth to share with the American people.

Posted by: Freethotlib | September 10, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Gerson adds Nothing New as allways to the tired GOP party line with entirely predictable remarks. Gerson spent his summer vacation not in Martha’s Vineyard, but in a soundproof room. the GOP echo chamber.

Posted by: jpenergy | September 10, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse


Gerson, here are two words for you and the GOP: Check Mate.

Posted by: ScottChallenger | September 10, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

What a lazy editorial!

I thought this was a remarkably solid speech. Very compelling and well-argued.

People need to keep their eye on the ball. Reform turns on whether Obama has support of the middle of the electorate. The Republican Party did an excellent job recasting the debate this summer, but they've had to rely on lies, distortions, and hubris.

Obama's speech: (a) bought the conversation back to reality, (b) offered amazing optics that dramatized Republican cynicism, and (c) addressed the misconceptions that have plagued the national debate. As one of the many people anxious and uncertain about reform, I woke up this morning with one 'takeaway': Obama is still the most reasonable and thoughtful person the chessboard.

If nothing else, he has my trust.

Posted by: irwin4211 | September 10, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Would Gerson be all aglow if instead of trying to help common Americans live healthier and more productive lives, President Obama had, like Gerson's former boss Pres. GW Bush, declared an unprovoked, unfunded, unwinnable war coupled with tax breaks for the rich?

Posted by: whitecatuhcl | September 10, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey Mr. Gerson, human beings who have compassion for their fellow human beings changed their mind and did so a long time ago. Have you ever been laid off from a job and could not find work in your field for 2 years Mr. Gerson? Those 2 years of being laid off you have no health insurance because it was through the job you were laid off from. Oh, and you have a advance degree so it is not like you are uneducated and not trying.

You people kill me. You speak from your privileged perch and dismiss that REAL STUFF happens to REAL PEOPLE!!!

Posted by: ajackson3 | September 10, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Michael Gerson is completely irrelevant to the conversation, and it must drive him crazy -- just as it does the Republicans and their supporters.

To Republicans of every stripe: your time is over. You had eight years and you did your best to kill off the economy, destroy the environment and generally declare war on mankind. But the fun is over. You are reduced to make s*** up and yelling at the President and anyone else you can.

But you are irrelevant. You are irrelevant because you just say "no", never have any ideas, and because you can't help but act like two year olds.

Now go to your corner and write 100 times "I will respect my fellow citizens and will not speak out of turn".

Come back in a few years if you learn to act in a civil manner -- if not, just stay away and let the adults manage things for a while.

Posted by: numediaman | September 10, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I really could care less about the health care issue right now. The only thing I'm interested in is finding a job after ten months of underemployment and unemployment, because then I'll have health care insurance. I've never been laid off in 25 years, and always had multiple offers when I've looked for a job.

I think there's a few million others who are in the same boat as me and would much rather have work than any lousy government run health care. I prefer to work for my money and benefits; keeping the government out of my life as much as possible. I don't trust Congress or the President to have my best interests at heart. I want work, not freebees that really aren't free.

Does anyone remember the Clinton's big push for "free" government run day care? All I could see with that plan is the same result as this plan offers- a lot less money in my paycheck and lousy care.

Posted by: FranklyFedUp | September 10, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Sour Grapes Gerson.

Your guys lost big last night. Joe Wilson and eric Cantor did more for health reform than Nancy Pelosi ever will. Suck on that, you fool.

Posted by: hillary12 | September 10, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Obama's speech was more pageantry than substance. I would also say that he is more intent on creating a perception of significant change among the general public to stave off further discontent with the status quo, than actually taking concrete action to improve health care in the US in any sort of meaningful way.

However, I do have to take issue when Gerson mentions "one of the largest drops in presidential approval in modern history" without mentioning the situation in Afghanistan.

There is no way to take Obama's presidency into account in any legitimate manner without including the war in Afghanistan, as well as Iraq for that matter. It is the illegitimate US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan that is the primary source of Obama's declining image in public opinion. To ignore this fact is utterly irresponsible.

The majority of people in the US now believe that conflict is not worth fighting. Further, a majority of people in the US also think a single payer health care system is the best option. Yet the majority is being ignored by the media, the Congress and, as we saw last night in Obama's address, the majority is also being ignored by the President!

If the majority rules under democracy, what kind of democracy exists in this country? Clearly, one in which the majority is not the ultimate determiner.

Posted by: mattbmurray | September 10, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

It was a very good speech. It was clear, easy to follow, and forceful. To say the speech changed minds or not, is, of course, a subjective judgement. Just because Gerson says, "the speech had nothing new," is kind of beside the point.

I think the point of the speech was to provide some kind of stimulus for congress to act.

Doing nothing, throwing rocks, and making stuff up does not help uninsured citizens.

Posted by: rmorris391 | September 10, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Why does Michael Gerson hate America so?

Posted by: WillSeattle | September 10, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of entirely predictable!
You and your party of "NO!" need to find yourselves soon.

Posted by: jblejl | September 10, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Nothing New? For me, there was something "radically" (oops, socialism alert!) new compared to America 2001-2008: a president who speaks coherently, rationally, and just plain well about a matter that deeply concerns the future of American society. Compare that with the Republican rebuttal -- honestly, Mr. Gerson, do you not notice the difference? I suspect you do, but cannot bear to admit it ...

Posted by: Pragmatix | September 10, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Michael Gerson is a proven observer. On July 8, about a month before everyone else realized it, he declared that Obama's health care plan had "hit an iceberg." And as Mr. Gerson says today, Obama's speech, with the exception of finally admitting the need for tort reform (John Edwards made millions by suing doctors, if we recall), added nothing new.

Even Obama sympathizer Dionne can only blather on about Obama's tougher tone; there was no change in real content.

This president has already, in his short eight months in office, added an additional $1.6 Trillion to the deficit. The bad news keeps growing worse--today, the government announced that July's balance of trade deficit was the highest in 10 years! But tone-deaf and economically challenged Mr. Obama wants to keep spending and spending... If Joe Wilson and others don't stop him, impolite as he may have been, we're going to pay one heck of a price.

Posted by: SherlockHolmes | September 10, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

to USA1ARMYSTRONG; When was the last time America won a war and don't tell us is was running Iraq out of Kuwait. Some still believe the US is the most powerful nation in the world-they are misguided as are the Party of NO Republicans.

Posted by: theo1 | September 10, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Gerson,

If you pay close attentions to the sound of music in the air, you can hear the fat lady sing the swan song of the RepubliCon party.....

I wonder whats going to happen media lap dogs of the party like you in the coming years.....I wonder?

Posted by: Roism007 | September 10, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson, you continue to be part of the party of "NO, NO, NO" without offering specific suggestions or plans of your own.
Oh just why could you have not said not to the Bush/Cheney violations of our constitution and their criminal acts regarding violations of the Geneva conventions.

Posted by: PaulofAnnapolis | September 10, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Wrong sir, the speach did give the Dems something new - it showed the depth of the arguments against it. One more reason for it for its passage.

Posted by: lswonder | September 10, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans are in a panic today. They were reminded last night that we now have an administration that intends to get something done in this country. After eight years of neo-con incompetence. So, keep trying Gerson. Perhaps you could make an entire career based on reminding people about Obama's poll numbers? Watch out, the winds are changing

Posted by: gposner | September 10, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I continue to be surprised at the level of
competency evident in this editorialist's productions. It is quite unclear why, and how, Mr. Gerson has achieved such status as
a political commentator for a first-rank
newspaper.

Posted by: philhicks28 | September 10, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Who knew that "Left Behind" referred not to the Rapture but to right wing fundamentalists.

They're just going to stand where they are screaming while the rest of humanity passes them by. What a sad bunch..........

Posted by: theobserver4 | September 10, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

This president has already, in his short eight months in office, added an additional $1.6 Trillion to the deficit. The bad news keeps growing worse--today, the government announced that July's balance of trade deficit was the highest in 10 years! But tone-deaf and economically challenged Mr. Obama wants to keep spending and spending... If Joe Wilson and others don't stop him, impolite as he may have been, we're going to pay one heck of a price.

Posted by: SherlockHolmes
-----------------------------------------------

hey Sherlock,

How do you figure that our trade deficit became so out of balance in the last 7 months? Obama's policies????

Nice name by the way..........

Posted by: theobserver4 | September 10, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

You want to talk about predictable remarks?

Be my guest! There is no one in the whole of media USA who is more predictable than you are...

Posted by: translator001 | September 10, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

The truly predictable thing is Gerson's analysis of Obama's incredibly successful speech. The numbers don't lie...check the overnight polling and see how the American people sat up and paid attention to our president last night...and liked what they heard!

Posted by: wvliberalgirl | September 10, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I've been reading Gerson's column of late, for the first time. Now, I'm asking myself why I should continue. It seems to me as if he's the one whose words are light on value.

Posted by: MartinZook | September 10, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Rob Miller, a Democrat and Marine Corps veteran, who was planning to run against Wilson in 2010, raised more than $50,000 for his campaign within just a few hours after Wilson's outburst.

If you want to help DEFEAT Joe "you lie" Wilson, you can donate to his opponent, Rob Miller's campaign here:

http://www.actblue.com/entity/fundraisers/19079

So long Joe, have a nice retirement!

Posted by: free-donny | September 10, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

whether obama provided any reason for changing one's mind about health care reform is debatable, although polls are showing that the great majority of listeners disagree with gerson. (gee, wouldn't it have been wonderful to write speeches for someone capable of reading them?)

what this excuse for a column does show is that gerson is incapable of coherence, style, or discarding the idealogical bucket over his head.

Posted by: jimfilyaw | September 10, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm tired of hearing the race card. All that's doing now is hidding the White House lies and garbage!!!!

Posted by: garyf34 | September 10, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, please offer a solution. I'm tired of people saying the president lies, the president isn't this or that... constructive debate can only exist if the bickering stops and folks offer constructive solutions to the problems. And if folks can't agree then they need come to a common ground. One would think that elected officials would know how to hold a healthy debate but that theory is obviously not held true.

Posted by: parisadon | September 10, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Oh Mr Gerson, you disappoint me to the point that I can hardly continue to read your posts. With your background, I expect more of you. But you can't let go of the Bush years can you? Most of the time when you write about Obama, you 'damn, with faint praise' - one phrase is positive, the next one is negative. In this essay about ideas, I really have to ask, Would you recognize a new idea if you saw one?

Posted by: Edmele | September 11, 2009 1:03 AM | Report abuse

So why does the House bill have these provisions in it ????????????

Pg 30 Sec 123 of HC bill – a Government committee (good luck with that!) will decide what treatments/benefits a person may receive.

Pg 29 lines 4-16 in the HC bill - YOUR HEALTHCARE WILL BE RATIONED! (We all knew this, because health care is rationed in Canada and Britain, but Obama kept saying it would not be).

Pg 42 of HC Bill – The Health Choices Commissioner will choose your HC Benefits for you. You will have no choice!

PG 50 Section 152 in HC bill - HC will be provided to ALL non US citizens, illegal or otherwise.

Pg 58 HC Bill – Government will have real-time access to individual’s finances and a National ID Healthcard will be issued!

Pg 59 HC Bill lines 21-24 Government will have direct access to your bank accts for election funds transfer

PG 65 Sec 164 is a payoff subsidized plan for retirees and their families in Unions & community organizations (read: ACORN).

Pg 72 Lines 8-14 Government will create an HC Exchange to bring private HC plans under Government control.

PG 84 Sec 203 HC bill - Government mandates ALL benefit packages for private HC plans in the Exchange.

PG 85 Line 7 HC Bill - Specifics of Benefit Levels for Plans = The Government will ration your Healthcare!

PG 91 Lines 4-7 HC Bill - Government mandates linguistic appropriate services. Example - Translation for illegal aliens.

Pg 95 HC Bill Lines 8-18 The Government will use groups, i.e. ACORN & Americorps, to sign up individuals for Government HC plan.

PG 85 Line 7 HC Bill - Specifics of Benefit Levels for Plans. AARP members - your Health care WILL be rationed.

-PG 102 Lines 12-18 HC Bill - Medicaid Eligible Individuals will be automatically enrolled in Medicaid. No choice.

pg 124 lines 24-25 HC No company can sue Government on price fixing. No "judicial review" against Government Monopoly.

pg 127 Lines 1-16 HC Bill - Doctors/ AMA - The Government will tell YOU what you can earn.

Pg 145 Line 15-17 An Employer MUST auto enroll employees into public option plan. NO CHOICE.

Posted by: JUNGLEJIM123 | September 11, 2009 6:25 AM | Report abuse

Hola,

My name is Pedro and I approve thees message.

While you worry about illegals getting health care, your Supreeme Court is doing the real work for us Mexicans. Thanks to your Acteevist Supreeme Court wheech is about to rule in favor of giving corporations unleemited use of money to buy your poleetical offeecials weeth no restreections on international companies and investors, we Mexicans will be moving in for good. We will be setting up shop een America and buying and investing in your companies, and setting up our own companies so we will have more rights then you gr1ngos.

Seence corporations do not have to be born or naturalized like we indiveedual Mexicans do, we can now have our corporations make us legeetimate. Yes, we will pump all our huge amounts of drug money into our U.S. corporations and use that money to buy off your politeecians just like we do in Mexico. Since money weell now be equal to free speech, and corporations equal to eendividuals, we rich Mexican drug lords will have more free speech then you individual gr1ngos. We will use thees unprecedented access to change the laws in our favor. And there ees nothing you stupid gr1ngos can do about eet.

The beauty of the case Citizens Coalition vs. Federal Election Commission ees that gr1ngo right wingers think thees is good to give corporations unleemited access to government, and they can slap Hillary Clinton een the process, but it also gives us Mexicans the ability to make the U.S. our home.

Thank you acteevist judges Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Kennedy and Thomas.

Posted by: thecontributist | September 11, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

One thing it is safe to assume is that Mr. Gerson has health insurance, probably paid through his syndicate's good offices. No worries about emergency rooms for him!

Posted by: Geezer4 | September 11, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I have never heard a President tell so many lies in less that an hour.Obama out lies even Nixon and Clinton.It was also a very partisan speech where he accused everybody who doesn't agree with him and his terrible mess of a bill of being less than sincere. Most Americans don't want socialized medicine or the house bill when it is explained. OBAMA IS A LIAR or a fool and those who continue to believe him are
fools as well or at least moochs.

Posted by: mikem12 | September 11, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

With uncouth losers like Wilson in positions of authority, ours is clearly a country in decline.

Posted by: zephyr99 | September 11, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Joe Wilson has apologized for calling the President a liar.

Now when will the President apologize to America for BEING a liar???

(Or does he only apologize "for" America, when traveling abroad?)

Posted by: LauraInNevada | September 11, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Stop Obama and have people take care of themselves. End medi-care and all other gov. programs.

Posted by: 1comedy | September 12, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

And Carter's solar panels do need to go back on the White House where they were prematurely dismantled and Clintons healthcare is still needed!!! Healthcare for profit is immoral and so is ignoring and turning back actions on important national issues. It is like sabotaging the '68 Paris Peace Talks to enjoy having your own years later and getting credit for it. That too seems rather immoral when you think about it as well as sabotaging energy efficiency and healthcare.

Posted by: Wildthing1 | September 12, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Reading the outrage against Gerson by Obamites, you would think that he slandered Obama.

Hey, lighten up, he is criticizing a SPEECH. A speech in which Obama said the same old things he has been saying for months.

A great delivery, yes, but nothing new here, nothing happening here, “move along”.

And, today Senator Conrad made a statement about the Public Option, the be all and end all of Health Care Reform:

It's not going to pass," said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., a member of the bipartisan "Gang of Six" negotiating team trying to work out a compromise on the Senate Finance Committee. "The only thing that has a prospect of passing is what is happening in the Senate, in the Finance Committee, where three Democrats and three Republicans have been given the responsibility to come up with a proposal for our colleagues. And the proposal that we are developing is fully paid for.

“Adieu and RIP dear Public Option.

But didn’t Nancy Pelosi say that there is no bill without the PO?

That statement will also go down the “memory hole”.

Posted by: jgfox39 | September 13, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of nothing new - for years now your column has been nothing but stale and hackneyed talking points. I suggest you hang it up.

Posted by: marecek | September 14, 2009 2:54 AM | Report abuse

The President's speech was not for you. It was for us. I liked it. I needed to hear exactly everything he said after a summer of insanity, lies, distortions, insults, character assassination, and insults. The best part of the speech was when he called out "some politicians have lied and distorted and decided it was better politics to oppose reform than to address the needs of the country", or something to that effect. In one other sentence, he all but called out Grassley's name. I found this speech very exciting and very satisfying. The very people he was referring to called it "partisan, combative". Of course, what would they call what they have been doing and did any of you expect that the lies and distortion would go unaddressed?

Posted by: nana4 | September 15, 2009 3:33 AM | Report abuse

Look at the location and context of the President's speech. He was at Cpongress. He was telling them what he wanted in a health bill. He was expressing the expectation that the bill not give any benefits to "illegal aliens."

There is no way that could be a lie.

So Mr. Wilso was no hero.

How can one argue with intent?

He was a self serving person who wanted fame.

he has it.

Now let us see what he does with it.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | September 15, 2009 6:01 AM | Report abuse

Gerson is a do nothing Jerk..

ISA

Posted by: Issa1 | September 15, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Documenting the Undocumented will bring in $200billion in tax revenue

ISA

Posted by: Issa1 | September 15, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Gerson's blather is nothing new.

Notice his weak attempt to define ineffectual presidential speeches as the sole property of democrats.

This from the hump who wrote the dribble drooled by 'W' the only memorable parts of which will be fodder for comedy forever.

Why must your readership suffer such disingenious prattle from the dull tools of hidden agendum? How do you not see the out of business sign being painted for you by these same fools?

Posted by: mot2win | September 15, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

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